Articles published in the Blue Mountain Panorama

This blog was created to preserve digitally, articles written by Janet Wilcox for the Blue Mountain Panorama. This newspaper is published in Blanding, Utah by Neil and Becky Joslin. By publishing digitally, more photographs can be added, and your comments and corrections can be quickly noted. Thanks for reading my articles in the newspaper, as well as on the Internet. If you have ideas for stories, please contact me at

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oct. 12 --Historic day for Bluff Co-op groundbreaking


  Governor Gary Herbert promised Corrine Roring last Wednesday, that not only would he “polish his dancing shoes” for next year’s promised dedication of the Bluff Co-op, but that he would “start practicing his dancing steps.”

Master of Ceremonies and former SJC commissioner, Lynn Stevens, introduced Gov. Herbert, as “Utah’s Most Rural Governor” and complemented him on his efforts to represent and visit rural Utah.  While in San Juan County, on Oct. 12 Herbert, also spoke to students statewide via the Utah Education Network and visited several local schools, Blanding Visitors Center, Edge of the Cedars Museum, and .
            Gov. Herbert reminded the audience of about 100 people at Bluff Fort, that the groundbreaking of the new Bluff Co-op, was a remembrance of those who had come before.  “We are standing on the shoulders of the Hole in the Rock pioneers, whose qualities can still be incorporated today.”  The addition of a replica of the first Co-op promises to be the “Gem of the Fort, and will once again be the hub of what happens here at the Fort.
            The Co-op was one of San Juan County’s first successful businesses, where bartering and trading with Native Americans and pioneers alike made it the center of commerce during the years of the gold rush, and first oil boom in San Juan County.  In fact, Herbert stated, “the Co-op paid a 10% dividend to original investors during the first 5 months of existence, and later paid 25% dividends to investors before the first year ended.”
            The Governor told citizens that the state is looking for ways to expand the economy in rural Utah, saying that Tourism and Travel can help. He thanked local residents for “all you do to raise good families and to run good businesses.”
            Dignitaries who participated in the groundbreaking, and who were introduced by Mr. Stevens included Wilson Martin (Chrm of Utah State History, and Chrm of Four Corners Heritage Council); Shirley Silversmith (Director of Utah Division of Indian Affairs);  President Mike Redd (Blanding LDS Stake); Elder Perry Webb (6th Quorum of 70’s LDS church area representative); San Juan County commissioners: Kenneth Maryboy, Phil Lyman, and Bruce Adams; Cleal Bradford (Chr of Trail of the Ancients Council, and member of Heritage Council, as well as writer of the original grant of $486,600 to build the new Co-op); Manuel Heart (Ute Tribal Councilman and former Chairman of the Ute Mt. Ute Tribe); and ; Leigh Von der esch (Director of Travel & Film for Utah).
            In her introductory welcome, Corrinne Roring, on behalf of the Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation, thanked those who had worked so hard to make her “distant dream” of 10 years ago, a reality.  “I predict that with the addition of the Bluff Co-op, the Bluff fort complex will become a “must stop and see” destination for all those who pass along Hwy 191. . .This would not have succeeded without you.”  She thanked all those who over the past four years, had helped to raise the matching money to the original grant; and thanked the Bluff Fort volunteers who “perform a labor of love” in keeping the gardens and grounds so clean and beautiful.
  She predicted that in 2012 we’ll celebrate the dedication of the Co-op which will be the “Jewel of the Fort” by “ringing the bells,” (as they did in early Bluff when Utah became a state in 1896), and “with a feast, and dancing ‘til midnight – so get your dancing shoes ready.  Bluff will buzz with activity again!”

Following the official ground breaking, many 3rd – 5th grade students from Bluff Elementary also took turns breaking the soil for the new building.

A delicious lunch with Bar-B-qued meat was prepared by Twin Rocks Care and salads, cookies, and drinks prepared by the fort volunteers fed the group.  It was a delicious end to a beautiful day of culmination, ceremony and hope.

About 120 people attended the ground breaking
         Earlier in the morning, Gov. Herbert addressed students statewide. It was the first statewide, live gubernatorial speech geared toward high school students. About 110 schools participated via live Web streaming. Herbert said the digital age and changing job market demand a highly-educated workforce in order to compete. "When you go out to the world to start your careers, you're not just going to be competing with the graduates of Utah State University and Dixie State, you'll be competing with the graduates of the University of Beijing in China," he said. After the speech he fielded questions from students from Orem, Rich County, Murray and Emery County.
Beverly Vowell, Fort Docent and Steve Bronson, Director 

Governor Hubert with Bluff Fort Stalwarts

LaVerne Tate explains the plans for the Bluff Co-op using the scale model