What do you want to see in St. George's new City Hall?

The City of St. George is set to unveil interior renderings of the new City Hall at Town Square and seeks public input on a host of potential uses for the building during an open house on March 6 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Dixie Academy Ballroom (86 S. Main Street).

Everyone is invited to this free open house, which includes a variety of exhibits and information about the following aspects of City Hall at Town Square:

  • Community art
  • The Plaza and Town Square
  • Public spaces in City Hall
  • City Hall services and Parking Garage
  • City Hall construction
  • Build your own City Hall with Legos
  • Police Department Expansion into the current City Hall

“At this open house, we want your feedback about the types of events you would like to see in the civic space, and what type of art installations we should include in the atrium,” said Mayor Michele Randall. “We also want you to help us decide on a name for the outdoor plaza and which items should be included in the time capsule.”

The current City Hall building, located on 175 East 200 North, opened in 1980 when the population of St. George was a little more than 11,000. Now St. George has more than 100,000 residents and is perennially among the fastest growing cities in the United States.

“City Hall belongs to the people, so with that in mind the facility will have an open, clean, well-lit, safe and friendly environment that the community will easily identify as welcoming and open to all,” Randall added. “We are excited to share information on this much-needed project.”

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Navigating So. Utah's I-15 Construction: What You Need To Know About Exit 11/Main Street

Photo by Jamar Penny on Unsplash
Photo by Jamar Penny on Unsplash

Steam coming out of your ears. Cuss words, Frustration. Pounding the steering wheel.

Yeah, if you've tried to drive north on I-15 between Exit 10 and Exit 13 anytime after about 3 p.m. every day, you know what I'm talking about.

The Exit 11/Main Street project continues and hopes that UDOT will be done by this summer are dwindling.

Apparently there have been some hang-ups/delays and our rainy weather has slowed things down a bit as well.

Here was the original plan:

  • Widening I-15 to include an additional travel lane in each direction (this is nearing completion)
  • Constructing a new interchange at Main Street (new Exit 11)
  • Implementing intersection improvements at Buena Vista Boulevard and Main Street (they've got a long way to go here)
  • Main Street reopens early 2024
  • Project completion summer 2024

UDOT says the project will improve safety and mobility throughout Washington County by providing additional connections from I-15 to the rapidly growing northeast areas of Washington and the downtown area.

UDOT also said Main Street in Washington City would be reopened by now. Their new target is late-March or April.

The good news is that the pedestrian underpass by the Boilers Park is now open, and while the progress on the rest of the project has been slow, it is, in fact, progressing.

Realistically, the project won't likely be completed until the end of 2024.

To stay informed throughout construction, sign up for email updates at udotinput.utah.gov/i15washington or by emailing a project representative at i15washington@utah.gov.

The most recent freeway exits or interchanges in the St. George area include the Dixie Drive addition, Exit 13 (Washington Parkway) in Washington City and a major renovation/makeover of Exit 16 to Hurricane.

The population in Washington County was at 13,669 in 1970, 26,065 in 1980, 48,560 in 1990, 91,206 in 2000, 138,397 in 2010 and the most recent numbers have the county at just over 200,000 residents (that's roughly 15 times the number of people in the county now than there were in 1970).

* -- Note: Washington City Mayor Kress Staheli said he doesn't mind answering questions about the project, but reminds citizens that it is a Utah Department of Transportation project and not a city project.

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Zombie Apocalypse Is Already Here Among Utah's Wildlife

Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/brown-deer-laying-on-grass-field-34231/
Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/brown-deer-laying-on-grass-field-34231/

Most people don't believe there will ever be a real zombie apocalypse -- semi-human zombies stumbling through the streets, looking to satisfy the unquenchable hunger for human brains, a 1,000-yard stare in their unthinking demeanor, blood dripping from their half-open mouths.

Hopefully that kind of zombie apocalypse will stay confined to television shows and video games.

But there is another kind of zombie apocalypse taking place in the mountains and forests of the western United State, even here in the state of Utah.

Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, AKA the “zombie deer disease” is proliferating in multiple North American deer populations.

According to the Centers For Disease Control (good job on that whole Covid thing, by the way):

"As of November 2023, CWD in free-ranging deer, elk and/or moose has been reported in at least 31 states (including Utah) in the continental United States, as well as three provinces in Canada. As of November 2023, there were 414 counties in 31 states with reported CWD in free-ranging cervids."

The CDC also issued this warning: "Nationwide, the overall occurrence of CWD in free-ranging deer and elk is relatively low. However, in several locations where the disease is established, infection rates may exceed 10 percent (1 in 10), and localized infection rates of more than 25 percent (1 in 4) have been reported."

So just what is Zombie Deer Disease?

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease that affects the brain, spinal cord, and many other tissues of farmed and free-ranging deer, elk, and moose.

Animals that contract the disease have developed these "zombie-like symptons"

  • drastic weight loss
  • stumbling
  • lack of coordination
  • listlessness
  • drooling
  • excessive thirst or urination
  • drooping ears
  • lack of fear of people

There is no known cure for CWD, but thankfully the zombie disease does not appear to infect cattle or other domesticated animals.

How it's spread

Scientists believe CWD proteins (prions) likely spread between animals through body fluids like feces, saliva, blood, or urine, either through direct contact or indirectly through environmental contamination of soil, food or water. Experts believe CWD prions can remain in the environment for a long time, so other animals can contract CWD from the environment even after an infected deer or elk has died.

What about us?

Scientists say If CWD could spread to people, it would most likely be through eating of infected deer and elk. However, to date, there is no strong evidence for the occurrence of CWD in people, and it is not known if people can get infected with CWD prions.

Just in case

The CDC does give us a list of recommendations to stay safe from the disease, although it should be reiterated that no human has yet to contract the "zombie" disease:

  • Do not shoot, handle or eat meat from deer and elk that look sick or are acting strangely or are found dead (road-kill).
  • When field-dressing a deer:
    • Wear latex or rubber gloves when dressing the animal or handling the meat.
    • Minimize how much you handle the organs of the animal, particularly the brain or spinal cord tissues.
    • Do not use household knives or other kitchen utensils for field dressing.
  • Check state wildlife and public health guidance to see whether testing of animals is recommended or required. Recommendations vary by state, but information about testing is available from many state wildlife agencies.
  • Strongly consider having the deer or elk tested for CWD before you eat the meat.
  • If you have your deer or elk commercially processed, consider asking that your animal be processed individually to avoid mixing meat from multiple animals.
  • If your animal tests positive for CWD, do not eat meat from that animal.
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