Is it black yet? More to come

Our City

by American Falls Mayor Marc Beitia

…More to follow.

Is it black yet? As I got home this morning around 2:00 I stopped at Harrison and Fort Hall and looked north up Fort Hall. Not quite finished, the Road Closed sign still in place.

In speaking with Street Superintendent Daren Dahlke he told me the paving equipment broke down last Friday prior to the completion of that part of the project. The remaining sidewalks and concrete should be placed by Tuesday of this week; it will require a few days to cure to the point that it can be ready for continued use.

Work continues on the city code as we prepare to set the dates for the publication of the summary for changes we are proposing to the code to bring it up to date, a public hearing and the required three readings prior to it being set for a vote. I wrote earlier that I hoped to have it done by Christmas but it looks like early January is more realistic.

Wastewater Superintendent Pete Cortez continues to make progress on our application to use our bio-solids for fertilizer on certain crops allowing us the opportunity to forego the cost of hauling it to Burley each week. Clerk Robyn Herndon and Deputy Clerk Terri Miller are close to selecting new administration software that will increase efficiency and services. On the recreational front reclamation of the beaches at Willow Bay should begin soon as will the replanting to native species for much of the habitat in the area thanks to the collaborative efforts of Lamb Weston and Stotz Equipment, along with our street and parks departments.

As I look out my window and write this column, leaves continue to cling to the branches of our trees in the last bit of warmth offered by the Fall sun and I look to tomorrow and starting over. Returning home from the National FFA Convention begins a new year of sorts as new teams are formed, practices are set and preparation begins to do it all again. As a teacher/advisor my goal is to always see my students grow and their potential as productive citizens increase.

That happened last week in Indianapolis, IN, where the members competed. As we traveled home yesterday Senator Jim Guthrie made the comment that I should relax and enjoy the moment. His words were something to the effect, “You just finished the Super Bowl. Relax and enjoy it!”

He is right of course, but as my teaching partners Daniel Heikkila and Courtney Knickrehm along with wife Sally will tell you I am not wired that way. While our FFA chapter has made great strides we are not to the point where we can simply reload; no, even with the awesome students we have we must annually rebuild as no member can compete in the same national event more than once. And, to compete there one must first win the event at the state level which leaves little time for R and R. There is one exception to that rule and I will share it with you next. The sincerest gratitude of our chapter again goes out to all the farmers and businesses that make it possible for 22 members to compete on the national stage; the members will share their stories in the weeks to come.

I will share with you the one exception to the state and national FFA rule that stipulates that members can compete only once in the same event at the national level and that is in the area of national talent.

Britton Bolgen was one of the youngest members to vie for a spot in the national talent review which narrowed over 150 members down to 52. After his first audition last week he was included in the top 15. On the convention stage in the national talent show in front of 22,000 people he played Pirates of the Caribbean on the piano blindfolded. It was crazy good!

When the results were announced his name was not among the top three to advance to the finals. His mother LeeAnn and the rest of us were obviously disappointed. The next night, Friday, Britton was asked to provide background music at the past national officer reception.

On the rainy walk there I told him you never know who you will meet at one of these, past national FFA officers are in every part of our country’s business and industry. He just smiled and shook his head. As he played people stopped, listened, stared and applauded. Then one lady started filming him. At the break she came and began talking to him. She was one of the judges who had judged the final three, of which Britton was not a part. She asked him if he had participated in the national talent event and he said he had.

The short version is he should have been on the finals stage as it would have coincided nicely with the job offer in Nashville, TN, that followed the conversation. I hope Britton chooses to compete in the national talent event next year. I am hopeful, that he will choose not to travel there from Nashville but from American Falls, selfish I know.

Until next week…

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