by Bill Boyle
The U.S. Postal Service recently approved some changes that could have a significant impact on mail delivery for the residents of San Juan County.
As part of a wide-ranging effort to cut costs, the USPS has decided to close the mail sorting facility in Provo, UT.
The current plan is that mail from Southeast Utah will be sent to, and sorted in, Grand Junction, CO rather than on the Wasatch front. This will add at least a day to mail delivery from this area to the Wasatch front.
In 2014, the USPS discontinued local mail delivery directly to Southwest Colorado. As a result, delivery to our Southwest Colorado subscribers was delayed by up to a week. We eventually lost patience and have simply taken the bags to Southwest Colorado on our own.
If it took a week for mail to get from Monticello to Dove Creek via Salt Lake City, I can only assume that it could take up to a week for mail to get from Monticello to the Wasatch Front via Grand Junction.
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While we all enjoy the dramatic drop in gasoline prices at the pump, there may be challenges for local governments when property values are set. Oil and gas properties account for approximately one third of the total tax base for San Juan County.
While the complete impact may not be known for months, we can only assume that the dramatic drop in gas prices will be matched by a dramatic drop in property values.
It is not just oil and gas properties that will be impacted. The price of copper on the open market has dropped in the past three months by approximately 20 percent, from a high of $3.10 to a low of $2.55 a pound. This will result in an inevitable drop in the value of the Lisbon Valley Copper Mine.
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It was an eagerly anticipated moment after the January 13 snowstorm when the new sledding hill at Monticello Elementary School was opened. During the design phase for the new school, the request we heard again and again and again was to keep the sledding hill. The grand opening of the hill was a huge success if you measure it by the sound of 300 ecstatic students.
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We are glad to introduce a new feature in the San Juan Record through the 2015 session of the Utah State Legislature. The news service will focus on events in the legislature, which will open in coming days for a 45-day session.
Capital West News Service is the work of journalism students at Brigham Young University. The initial story, on page 3, discusses the legislative compromise from the Count My Vote initiative, which was passed in the 2014 session. It is written by Christopher Larson, a BYU student who attended school in Monticello.
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In addition, a story on local restaurants by Mary Cokenaur is on page 16. Mary has lived in San Juan County for several years and currently works at the visitor center in Monticello. She writes a food blog, Food Adventures of a Comfort Cook, found at http://www.comfortcookadventures.com/
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Things are reportedly looking better for Monticello resident Paul Langston, who was shot in the jaw in a freak accident on January 10. A benefit dinner was held January 20 at Monticello High School.
While Langston is reportedly doing better, it will be a long, hard road to recovery. A website on his behalf can be found at http://gfwd.at/14lyfb6
Other friends with San Juan County connections are also facing difficult and expensive challenges.
Ashley Irvin, the daughter of Monticello native Verna Black Askwig, is in need of a heart transplant. Ashley is a Division I athlete who has faced a number of health challenges.
A Dash4Ash 5K race begins at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 24 at the St George Crosby Family Confluence Park. Her story is told at http://www.gofundme.com/heart4ash.
Bernie Sammons, 1980 graduate of Monticello High School, is undergoing extensive cancer treatments at the Huntsman Cancer Center. His story is told at www.gofundme.com/BSammons.