Summer is over, figuratively at least

Our City

by A.F. Mayor Marc Beitia

Summer is over! Figuratively at least for teachers and most farmers. The Power County 4-H and FFA Fair was last week, grain harvest has started, city street projects should be finishing up and we are a week away from school starting. Some of the list is as per schedule, but not all.

The “not all” part may be the construction on Fort Hall from Harrison to the bypass. The installation of the water line and services has proved to be a real challenge as much of the subsurface infrastructure is a maze of pipe and cable, some of which is not marked or otherwise identified. For obvious reasons this makes progress slow as unidentified lines are sometimes accidently hit and have to be repaired or cause other potential code violation issues that have to be complied with.

We are still planning on a September completion date. If the project is not completed and invoiced by the end of September it creates a whole new set of budgetary problems. That being the case we are doing everything we can to expedite the project.

While the Fort Hall project is lagging a bit, I am happy to report that all the emergency relief projects are complete, invoiced and the final paperwork has been submitted for reimbursement to the city. The Willow Bay Emergency Access Road is also in its final stages and should be complete and invoiced within ten days. I include the final invoicing of projects because as a governmental entity the city has to disburse tax dollars as per official invoices and until those invoices are in hand payment cannot be made. Invoices that are received in a fiscal year that they are not budgeted for create a real problem as those funds have not been properly appropriated within that fiscal year’s budget. So as the Fort Hall project continues not only is the prolonged inconvenience a concern but monetary issues also come into play making an on time finish all the more important.

As I shift gears a bit and think of other things that are important, at least to me, I look at my summer that was and wonder where it all went. Three of the four weeks in June were spent in teacher professional development programs while the fourth week was used to complete grant applications and national FFA applications. July was similarly booked and last week was fair week and school starts next week. As I look back I didn’t spend as much time on a trout stream as I would have liked but the time was productively spent.

In June we qualified ten FFA members to compete in two national events. On August 3 we received word that for the second year in a row the American Falls FFA Chapter will be recognized as one of the ten top chapters in the country. The chapter will also be recognized for the excellent work our bilingual students have been doing with the ISU Outreach program, Lamb Weston and Driscoll Potato. In addition Sod Williams has been selected to serve as a national delegate at the 91st National FFA Convention while his classmate and pianist Britton Bolgen has been selected to compete in the National FFA Talent events. Our own Senator Jim Guthrie will be awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree for his continued efforts in promoting agriculture, agricultural education and the FFA in Idaho and nationally. In all, 18 people associated with our ag program and FFA chapter will compete and be recognized this October, by far the most ever from our community. Quite frankly, none of these accomplishments would have been possible without the unwavering support of this program and these students by our entire community. From all of us to all of you, thank you so very much for making great things possible!

And lastly, speaking of great things and community support, last Friday night’s Power County 4-H and FFA livestock sale was once again the best ever. People often ask me why I always say that “American Falls is the best place to live,” simply put, I know of no other place where community support is so evident in everything we all collectively do. At the end of the sale last night I spoke briefly with our retired Extension Agent Stan Gortsema. I say briefly because he was at a loss for words. Yet even in the muted darkness I could see the twinkle in his eyes. It was a twinkle that I have seen in numerous students who have accomplished things they didn’t think possible. Two years ago this month I wrote of the contributions made to this community by Stan Gortsema and Fair Board Chairman Bill Schroeder, they have done it yet again! Some folks have a calling, I believe the success and support of our youth is Stan and Bill’s. Similarly Kyle Matthews has also made a huge contribution as have all the other members of the sale committee.

NOWHERE in my life have I seen more support for youth, regardless of activity, than in Power County. Truly, the very best place to live!

Until next week…

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