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Archive for June, 2009

By Emily Sanderson – June 3, 2009

EPHRAIM — At their meeting on May 20, the Ephraim city council talked over flags.

The council reviewed a recommendation by the Ephraim Cemetery Board last week to post a line of flagpoles that would fly international flags at Heritage Park.

The recommendation by the cemetery board was meant to be a compromise with the Hispanic community.  Although the board declined the proposal to fly a Mexican flag at the Ephraim Pioneer Cemetery, it encouraged the city council to consider providing a place for flags representing the national origins of city residents at Heritage Park, according to Beverly Brooks, Cemetery Board chair.

The flagpoles at the cemetery are reserved for Scandinavian nationalities which represent the origins of the pioneers who founded Ephraim in the 1800s, the board determined.

Councilman Terry Lund explained that a new board (perhaps a subcommittee to the Parks Committee) could raise funds for the project and determine which flags would be flown.

But city council members expressed concern that flying the Mexican flag may not accomplish the goal of reaching out to the Hispanic community in Ephraim.

“How does hanging a flag help me reach out to my neighbor?” said Councilman David Warren.  “I would rather see action than token [gestures].”

Councilman David Parrish agreed.  “I am a citizen of the United States of America,” he said, pointing to the United States flag posted in the city council chambers.  “The only flag I care about is that one.  We are placing too much emphasis on a flag other than this one.”

Parrish said he would rather see the “homogenizing” of cultures into one.  “I personally don’t care what ethnicity [someone is].  I just care that they honor our freedoms.”

In a letter to his fellow city council members, Parrish explained that he grew up in the South where he saw the segregation of cultures based on race.

“I remember having different schools, different water fountains and racial slurs being used rather frequently without concern for the person,” he stated.  “I do not believe that we should have any labeling in this country except that I am an American.  I may be an American of African descent or an American of Mexican descent or whatever, but I am an American nonetheless.”

“I am glad that we are honoring those pioneers that worked so hard to settle and tame the wilderness,” Parrish continued in his letter.  “[But] I cannot endorse placing a Mexican flag or any other flag at the north end of Ephraim.  … I love my country and the freedoms that we have.  That freedom allows for discussions such as this to be had.”

Warren supported the idea of a multicultural committee that would “do more than just talk about flags.”

The council determined that additional discussion was needed on the subject and opted to place it on the agenda at is next meeting.

In other matters, Holly Smith of Ephraim requested that the city consider raising taxes to pay for citywide mosquito abatement each summer.

“Ephraim is a great place to live,” she said.  “But when summer comes, I want to leave town because of the mosquitoes.”

Smith said that usually around graduation after the Scandinavian Heritage Festival is when it gets “really bad.”

“I have been bitten already,” she said.

Smith an her neighbors who came to support the cause estimated that the increase to residents’ utility bills would be about $5 more per month for part of the year.

Richard Anderson, city manager, said it costs $22 per mile for an application, or about $700 for a citywide treatment.  An application would need to be repeated every two weeks through the first half of the summer.

In previous years, mosquito abatement in Ephraim has focused on the west side of town where there is more standing water.  They also do perimeter fogging of the insecticide around city parks, Anderson said.

“I am opposed to arbitrarily raising taxes,” said Parrish.  “This is a worthy cause, but there is alwaus something to spend more money on.”

Anderson said he would research the subject and provide more information to the city council at the next meeting.

Municipal recreational boards throughout Sanpete County will meet in Ephraim on June 9 to collaborate on the start and end of seasons for different sports.  Future meeting locations will rotate to different communities around the county.

Also, the city council scheduled a budget meeting from 3-5 p.m. on May 29.

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