The measure of life and home

Our City
by A.F. Mayor Marc Beitia

Sally and I drove to Leadore Saturday to celebrate the life of a long time friend. It seems to be happening more frequently as the years march by. Throughout the six hours of driving I contemplated the measure of a life –

A few weeks ago I wrote that the city had secured a few more grants. More accurately Superintendent Jeremy Peirsol secured two more grants on your behalf. The first is a Recreational Grant for $105,500 with a $20,000 city match to be used at Willow Bay. The funds will be used to install heaters in the original campground bath and shower house so that it can be used year round. The electrical pedestals will be upgraded to handle 50 amp services. Sprinkler systems will be installed on the hillside overlooking the docks and in the area between the C-Store and the City Park’s shop. Finally, the row of campsites on the south side of the campground will be converted to pull-thru sites to better serve customers.

A Waterways Improvement Grant was also obtained by Jeremy for $70,400, which requires a $4,550 city match. This grant pays for new recycled plastic boat docks to be installed this fall at Willow Bay. The City match will be to construct ADA (Handicapped Accessible) sidewalks from the boat docks to the Bay Café and the Willow Bay Trailhead.

The Safe Routes project continues through Jeremy Peirsol’s efforts. This year the section of Bannock Avenue from Harrison Street to the William Thomas Middle School will be completed. Construction is scheduled to begin this week and conclude around July 4th. Jeremy, it is hard to fathom where our community would be without you.

As a city, we were fortunate enough these past two weeks to add two new faces to your employ. Chief Wilkinson hired Jose Rodriguez to round out our team in the Police Department. As a patrol officer, Jose’s native Spanish is already paying dividends and making a positive difference for us all. I admit it was overdue; we have needed at least one Spanish speaking officer for many years.

Superintendent Pete Cortez hired Marcus Kettl to assist Scott Dalling at the new Waste Water Treatment Plant. Unless you know the Meadows family pretty well, you won’t know Marcus. Marcus comes to us from Germany and is Erika Meadows’ husband, Bill and Vicky’s son in law. Marcus was employed in Germany as a waste water treatment plant operator. If any of you want to practice your native German, I am all too sure that Marcus would love to accommodate you. We are doubly fortunate to get Marcus because not only do we get his previous experience and expertise, we get Erika as a new teacher at Hillcrest Elementary. Welcome home Erika, and welcome to the community of American Falls, Jose and Marcus.

Chief Wilkinson and the Police Department will be sponsoring their annual Bicycle Rodeo this Thursday, June 19, on Idaho Street between the City Parks. Come one, come all! It is never too late to learn new tips and tricks to bicycle safety and maintenance. Please call City Hall for more information at 226-5922.

On a sour note, we are getting reports and seeing evidence of people driving-off road at Willow Bay, shooting firearms and killing rabbits in those same areas. I will simply say that violators will be caught and prosecuted. For those of you fresh out of school for summer, let me put it in terms you may understand: Just because it is summer it doesn’t mean you leave courtesy, respect and common sense at home when you walk out that door. Summer does not equal Stupid!

To catch you up just a bit, I had a promising meeting with Ed Bala, James Orner and Brian Poole of ITD this past Tuesday regarding the sidewalks in the Downtown Project. I was encouraged by Ed’s assurances and look forward to our next meeting during the first week of July.

I attended the Magnida open house Wednesday evening and will simply say that I hope for all of our sakes Magnida and Con-Agra can work forward amicably. As a community struggling to grow and prosper, we need you both. And to quote Marlene Wiles, “If we can put a man on the moon, we ought to be able to work this out.”

Our city’s Historical Commission has been busy lately. At Friday’s recessed City Council meeting, the Council approved the recognition of three homes to be added to our historical registry. These homes can be found at 246 McKinley Street (Bailey home), 373 Van Buren Street (Spence home), and 733 Stevens (Hobbs home). The Commission has also selected the following homes and yards to receive our Spring / Summer Community Pride Recognition. The top three in no particular order are 373 Van Buren, 255 Tyhee and 408 Polk. Honorable mentions further include: 266 Washington, 716 Falls, 95 Hillcrest, 135 Howard (look in the alley!), 715 Stevens, 114 Grant, 510 Grant, 246 McKinley, and 248 Arthur. Commission Chairman Don Johnson stated, “There were well over 50 homes and yards on our original list. There are so many great ones, it was very difficult to limit the decision to just three.”

I have been waiting for Good Neighbor nominations from you. Sometimes, like my students, everyone needs an example. My nomination for the Good Neighbor recognition is my neighbor, Kevin Mauch. About a month ago Kevin helped my other neighbor, Gloria Hobbs, install a fence around her yard. It looked like a four or five day project. People helping people for no other reason than because they can and want to – a good neighbor. Thank you Kevin Mauch for being such a great neighbor to all of us.

– as we can take nothing with us, the measure must be what one leaves behind. With over 200 in attendance, the measure of a man, Jim Playfair, was evident as we stood at the Fire Station he built in Leadore and celebrated his life of 54 years. The stories told and works cited over the course of nearly four hours assured the measure of Jim in the place he chose to call home. My thanks to those above for choosing to do the same for each of us and this place we call home…

Until next week…

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