Blanding City Council adopts fireworks restrictions, receives San Juan Counseling report
The Blanding City Council adopted firework restrictions and received reports from San Juan Counseling and the Utah State University Wellbeing survey at their June 22 meeting.
The council adopted firework restrictions ahead of the city Independence Day celebration and the city firework show, scheduled for Saturday, July 3.
Due to high heat and drought conditions, Fire Chief Corey Spillman and the city council restricted the use of aerial fireworks within Blanding City limits.
Aerial fireworks are known as Class C dangerous fireworks and include skyrockets, missle-type rockets, roman candles, and other similar explosives.
While conditions are poor for aerial fireworks, Spillman said other types of ground fireworks, such as fountains and butterflies, would be allowed
“I haven’t felt uncomfortable about letting people do the fountains,” said Spillman. “Basically, anything that doesn’t leave the ground more than six feet in the air.”
Although unlikely, Spillman does have authority to ban ground fireworks as well. Check online the weekend of the celebration to see if that ban has been enacted.
Outside Blanding, all open flames are banned, including fireworks. These are bans on Federal, State, and County lands outside incorporated cities.
While aerial fireworks in Blanding will be prohibited, the city will still host their annual Independence Day firework show on Saturday evening at 10 p.m.
As part of the ordinance the council passed on June 22, anyone found responsible for starting a fire in Blanding shall bear any and all costs of suppression efforts.
Last year, Spillman, said, the fire district responded to three different fires started by fireworks.
Also at the meeting, the council received a report from Tammy Squires, the Executive Director at San Juan Counseling.
Squires explained that about eight months ago, San Juan Counseling began a new mobile crisis outreach team. The team of two people is available to respond to homes, jails, and hospitals when individuals are experiencing a mental health crisis.
Squires explained the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) runs a statewide phone line for people in need. The number is 801-587-3000.
Those who call the line can speak to mental health professionals who can provide support to people and refer them to mental health services.
If a situation calls for it, UNI can reach out to San Juan Counseling and engage their mobile outreach team to respond to anyone in the county.
Law enforcement, jails, and hospitals in the county all have the mobile team direct number. Squires says they have already been able to help respond to situations with both Blanding City Police and San Juan County Sheriff’s deputies.
Squires reported in addition to their regular counseling services, San Juan Counseling also has therapists in some of the schools in the county and are involved with many youth campaigns.
The council also received a report from Dr. Courtney Flint, a Community Resource Specialist and Professor of Natural Resource Sociology at Utah State University.
Since 2019, Dr. Flint has been conducting the Utah Wellbeing Project which conducts surveys of Utah cities to gather personal and community wellbeing perspectives across the state to inform city leaders and their general planning process.
This was the first year Blanding participated in the survey. Among the top concerns for Blanding residents who filled out the survey include the town water supply, opportunities for youth, and affordable housing.
The survey also looked at what people think is important and whether those needs are being met.
For Blanding residents, safety and security and connection to nature are of high importance, and community members feel those needs are being met.
Physical health and mental health are also of high importance, but those surveyed said those two needs are not being as well met.
Among the 30 cities surveyed, Blanding was ranked in the top five of both perceived community action and community connection.
Dr. Flint and city officials hope to increase participation in the survey next year, which was mostly advertised on social media for the first year.