ST. GEORGE – The St. George City Council honored a retiring city department head and gave platform awards presentations to two seasoned members of the St. George area’s art community in its meeting Thursday.
Departing water services director
At the start of the council meeting, Mayor Daniel McArthur said someone “who means a great deal to St. George” is retiring from city employment. That someone was Barry Barnum, the city’s water services director. Barnum has served in that position for the last 15 years.
The mayor and members of the council described Barnum as a humble man and a problem solver. When he spoke to the council concerning some issue, the council listened, the mayor said.
McArthur called Barnum to the front of the council chambers for a chance to “get back at the council” for what they had said about him. He took the opportunity to thank the mayor, city manager and the council for allowing him to serve the city.
“(Mayor McArthur and City Manager Gary Esplin have) been good to me,” Barnum said. “It’s sad that the rest of the community can’t see the care and effort put in by Gary and the mayor into the community.”
“I am really thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to work for the city,” he said.
Members of the city council also expressed their gratitude for Barnum’s service, and expressed that it didn’t matter if a person was a member of city government or a regular resident, he would treat everyone the same.
Barnum returned to his seat amid standing applause.
Serving as Barnum’s replacement by unanimous council vote is Scott Taylor, promoted from within the department.
Recipients of the St. George Art Commission’s Excellence in Arts award
Community members Lynne Clark and Roy Fitzell were honored by the city next.
The Excellence in Arts award is bestowed by the St. George Arts Commission and to members of the arts community for dedication to their craft and their artistic accomplishments.
The first award was presented to Clark who has been involved extensively in art, singing and photography. She has been a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and may be more recently known for her book “Images of Faith,” a 400-page book detailing the history of St. George through over 1,200 photos.
She said “Images of Faith” has sold extremely well. Around Thanksgiving last year 1,600 books were produced for sale. As of March 21, only 100 copies remain.
“I hope you enjoy the book and the city,” she said.
The next award recipient was Roy Fitzell who has over 70 years experience as a dancer. Originally from California, who grow up learning dance and was eventually noticed picked up by film and television producers which allow him to participate in productions alongside the likes of Bing Crosby, Debbie Reynolds and their contemporaries. He also taught dance in Irvine, Calif., as well as Southern Utah University.
More recently Fitzell portrayed Herr Drosselmeyer in the St. George Ballet Company’s 2012 production of the “The Nutcracker.”
“To receive this award is better than to receive a thousand curtain calls at the Metropolitan Opera,” Fitzell said, and added he had been to the Metropolitan to perform on occasion.
“We are so fortunate to have the arts community we do,” Councilman Jon Pike said. “Isn’t it incredible the people we attract to St. George?”
The council voted to allow the U.S. Navy to use the St. George Municipal Airport for ground refueling training May 9-10. The exercise will last less than 24 hours, said Special Agent Lane Pughe, Naval Criminal Investigation Service. Along with the airport, he said that training at the airport will also coincide with training taking place on the Shivwits Reservation.
Discussion was had concerning approving funding priorities for a Community Development Block Grant the city had received for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. It was determined that one of the top priorities of the funding would involve the possible creation of a new shelter that could benefit Dixie Care and Share.