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Idaho Enterprise

2022 Year in Review

State   (photo: BradLittlewithVets, Republicans, Lotto)


Another year of drought and low water levels were reported across the state.  After a higher than average spring season of precipitation, the summer dried up and led many locations across the state to report drought conditions in over 80% of the state.  Oneida county specifically was declared to be in extreme drought conditions.

The second-largest MegaMillions drawing in history brought constant traffic into Malad throughout the summer.  The jackpot drawing did not result in a winner until August, when it had reached nearly a billion and a half dollars.  While the winner was ultimately located in Des Plains, Illinois, the excitement brought significant crowds into Malad’s lottery retailers.

State elections in 2022 spanned both a raucous primary season, as well as a November election inflected by the Independent campaign of Ammon Bundy for governor.  

Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin, who made national news over the last year and a half for criticizing Governor Little over his policies related to COVID, Federal relief funds, and immigration issues, launched a primary challenge against him.  Similar to the fates of a number of more conservative, Trump allied candidates over the election season, McGeachin ended up having fierce support, but not enough of a base to win the nomination.  Ammon Bundy, another major factor in the state’s political system, ran as an Independent rather than a Republican, which allowed him to skip the Republican primary.

Later in the fall, many of the main Republican nominees for the 2022 visited Malad in a Q and A night at the Event Center.  Governor Brad Little, Speaker of the House Scott Bedke (running for the Lieutenant Governor position), State Controller Brandon Woolf, and Debbie Critchfield (running for State Superintendent of Schools.  The event was well-attended, and gave Malad residents a chance to directly interact with state leaders, all of whom would win their elections. The evening was introduced by Mike Hess, and the questions, taken from the audience, were moderated by County Attorney Cody Brower.


Local government

Elections (picture: CommisionVoting/NewCouncilMembers/Jeppsen)

During the primary elections for county offices, both Ken Eliason and Bob Christophersen faced challenges for their positions.  After a robust campaign season, Ken Eliason retained his seat against a challenge by Andee Parry, and Bob Christophersen was outvoted by supporters of Brian Jeppsen, who will be sworn in as the new County Commissioner at the beginning of 2023.  During the final election, the local county officers ran unopposed, and retained their seats.

Later in the fall, Oneida county was randomly chosen to be one of the counties to undergo a vote audit under Idaho’s new Voting Integrity act.  A representative of the Secretary of State’s office, along with representatives of both parties, matched the physical ballots with the electronic tabulations.  At the end of the audit, Oneida county was found to have conducted an accurate election count.

Following 2021’s City Council election, Jaime Olsen and Tyrell Neal completed their first full year as commissioners in 2022.  Both have been very actively involved in city business, including the Impact Zone and Economic Development boards, the Fourth of July celebration planning, and more.


Wastewater Plant

The new Malad City Wastewater Treatment Plant, a project undertaken by contractor Whitaker Construction, officially began in 2022.  Tons of dirt have been moved to create the four ponds that will become the city’s new wastewater plant.  The construction is anticipated to continue through the winter into the new year, when the wastewater liners will be laid and the pipes connected.  The cost of the project has largely been paid by grants, and several government agencies.  As a result, the sewer rates should not have to be raised to account for the expense, other than a minimal maintenance fee for the new equipment.


Mayor’s Youth Council (Photo: YouthCouncil)

In 2022, the City officially established a Youth Council to provide consultation and advice to city leaders from the youth.  Such a council has existed in the past, but was renewed by Mayor Hawkins this year as a way of receiving input on the issues facing the city as it moves forward.  Students representing the ninth through twelfth grades were recruited to serve on the advisory council, including Porter Kimberling, Cambree Howe, Katie Marble, Mattliyn Jaconson, Mathilde Dickerson, Aubree Palmer, Tylee Venable, Marinn Brown, Kala Layton, Aubrey Corbett, and Adi Schow.


Co-op plans

The city has received plans from the architectural firm in Pocatello about modernizing and converting it into a new suite of city offices and an audience chamber for council and other public meetings.  An independent contractor is working with the city to arrange the phasing of the project going forward.


Hess Lumber 

The Hess Lumber palette operation was a source of a number of public hearings and meetings over the course of the year.  The concerns raised by the public primarily involved the truck traffic downtown, which often blocks the roadway and creates a potentially unsafe environment for pedestrians during the summer months.  Several ordinances to restrict the truck traffic were discussed throughout the year, though the construction of a new facility for the operation south of town has mitigated many of the concerns.


DYW (Photo: DYW)

The Distinguished Young Women program honored a new reigning DYW in Raegan Smith, taking the title from last year’s winner Kristal Ford.  The DYW program was chaired by new director Nicole Daniels, and brought a packed house to the Malad Elementary School for the event.  The program, based on a combination of academics, interviews, and talent, is a great showcase for the many accomplished young women in the area.  


Evening of the Arts (Photo: Evening of the Arts/Evening of the Arts2)

The Evening of the Arts Fundraiser and Auction also made its full return in 2022.  The event was a chance for the community to raise funds for the Nell J Redfield Foundation, which auctioned off items donated by over 60 local artists and businesses.  Like many other events, it had been postponed during COVID.  The return was a massive success.


Drive-In reopens (Photo:Drive-In)

After several months of closure, the Malad Drive-In, which had been under the ownership of the Price family for many years, was reopened by Bryan Scott in the spring.  The balance of the year has been spent trying to maintain the familiar menu and elements of the community icon while adjusting to new ownership and overall conditions in the food market.  The Drive-In has been a cornerstone of the community for decades, and continued that tradition in 2022 by supporting many of the new activities during the Fourth of July celebration, as well as sponsoring a number of events throughout the year.


Malad’s First Presbyterian Church celebrates its 140th year (Photo: Presbyterian Pic.copy)

In conjunction with the Welsh Festival in 2022, the First Presbyterian Church celebrated its 140th year in the valley with a series of open house events, as well as programs that featured many of the people who have been a part of its history over the last generations, including Mylene and Fred Jones, Cheryl Jenkins Marshall, Diane Deekins Deeg, Susan Naugler Fineman, Jeanne Jenkins, and others.


Welsh Festival (Photo: WelshBard)

Last year’s Welsh Festival was limited, due to COVID restrictions.  2022, however, saw the event return in full fashion, with several days of poetry, song, food, games, art, displays of Welsh pride, and the seating of a new Bard.  Cory Webster had held the title of Bard since he earned it in 2019.  Because it had not been possible to hold a proper competition, he retained the title for three years in a row.  As a result of the contest, Lamonte John was named the new Bard and officially seated.    


Constitution Day

Another celebration that returned in full force for 2022 was Constitution Day, which was held on September 17 to honor the 1787 creation of the founding document of the United States.  Organizer Brian Jeppsen, along with a host of others, wanted to bring back the tradition of honoring the document begun by Larry Ward.  The day featured keynote speaker Raul Labrador, as well as musical numbers and essays on patriotism by local students.  Many volunteers from the city and county, as well as the Interfaith Council were on hand to serve food to the crowd.


Fourth of July (Photo: FourthofJulyShootout, 4th)

The Fourth of July was even busier in 2022 with the addition of a number of new events and activities, as well as the traditional kids bike parade, morning float parade, concerts, fireworks, and games.  

Gary and Sherma Sheperd were named the Grand Marshals of the parade.  The couple are the face of Malad’s enduring and iconic Dude Ranch Café, and have been highly involved with the community over the years.  Korean War Veteran and former Oneida County Sheriff William Neal was named the Honored Veteran of the Parade.   Janice Goddard was named the Honored Prioneer of the Year.

2022’s Fourth of July celebration included the new additions of a kickball tournament, softball tournament, axe throwing booth, and home run derby, alongside the traditional concerts, family games, fireworks, and other events.


Fair/Races (Photos: Fair3, Fair8, Fair11, Fair12)

As always, the Fair was a highlight of the 2022 year.  Unofficially kicking off the week before with parimutuel races at the Fairgrounds, the fair brought thousands of people into town and showcased the talents of kids and adults alike in the open classes.  This year’s Fair was another huge success, thanks to the hard work of the Fair Board, and the dedicated work of FFA and other Malad kids whose animals raised record prices at this year’s Stock Sale.  Featuring Rodeo, Roping events, Motocross, Scales and Tails, a Talent show, antique farm vehicle displays, food vendors, and livestock of every sort, there was truly something for everyone.


Harvest Heritage Festival (Photo: PieEatingSamaria)

In October, Samaria celebrated it first of what it hopes will become many Harvest Heritage Festivals.  The multi-day event was held at Heritage Square in Samaria, and provided fun, entertainment, and even education to the many visitors who made their way out.  From pie eating contests to apple pressing, the weekend was designed to bring the sights, sounds, and smells of the season to the valley.  In addition to the recognizable sights of the season, experts were on hand to demonstrate a variety of weaving and blacksmithing techniques, as well as candle-dipping, butter churning, ice cream making, rope making, and wool spinning.  Cornhole tournaments, music competitions, and plenty of games for kids kept the weekend busy and was a great start to the celebration.    

Samaria Days


Renaissance Faire (Photo: RenaissanceFair, RennFair2)

Another new event brought into the valley this year was the Renaissance Fair, also held in Samaria.  Luke Waldron had initially planned the event as a smaller-scale spring animal fair, but was approached by local students who had been studying Shakespeare and medieval life in a course taught by Donna Whipple.  The students were primarily responsible for designing and putting on the faire, which included archery, drama, nerf sword fighting, pony rides, music, and more.  An Improv group from Utah called the Antics performed throughout the event.  Jaxom and Serena Whipple served as King and Queen over the Faire as a result of their grades in the course.  


Ghost Hunt (Photo: Haunted School)

As a nod to the Halloween season, the Enterprise staff embarked upon a Ghost hunt in 2022 at the allegedly haunted Malad Elementary School Building.  Bryan Scott, Sherrie Wise and her daughters Bailey and Kelsey, Cambrie Christophersen and reporter Brandon Hall stayed for the duration of the witching hours at the school.  While no overtly ghostly activity was detected, all agreed that the school was indeed creepy after dark. 


PTO Carnival (Photo: PTOHalloween, PTOHalloween2)

As a part its yearly tradition, the PTO hosted its Halloween Carnival, once again taking advantage of the increased space and facilities of the Event Center.  2021’s Event Center Carnival was a massive success, and organizers stated that 2022’s was even better.  The carnival, which featured dozens of games designed for kids, a large maze held in the show arena, a spook alley, cake walk, pony rides, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy time with friends and family, saw hundreds of visitors throughout the evening.  The event was so popular that it ran out of tickets, which, as Melanie Coleman remarked “is a great problem to have!”  The carnival is the largest fundraising event of the year for the PTO, and helps to support many student programs and events throughout the year.


Veterans (VeteransDay, VeteransElementary3)

Veterans across the county were honored during a Memorial day ceremony at the Malad City Cemetery, where keynote speaker Jon Abrams spoke on the legacy and importance of service and those who have served our country.  A newly crafted bell by Doug Adams was also unveiled.  Later in the year, Veteran were honored again at the traditional Veterans Day program at Malad Elementary School.  Keynote speaker Garen Atkinson spoke to the large crowd, including the MES essay contest winners.


Old High School Demolition (Photo: Demolition1, Demolition2, OldSchool)

At long last, demolition of the old Malad High School finally began at the end of November.  After a year of asbestos abatement and waiting, the project to clear the ground occupied by the old school finally began as machines rumbled onto the site to begin tearing down and removing the nostalgic structure, which had seen generations of students travel through its halls in its long history.  Bricks from the old school were made available to those who wanted to keep them as mementos.  The former footprint of the school will eventually become part of the new elementary school, which is slated to begin construction in the near future, and eventually replace the current elementary school, which is also in need of an upgrade.


Christmas Coloring Contest (Photo: ColoringContest, ColoringContest4)

For the second year in a row, the Enterprise hosted the Christmas Coloring Contest and Prize drawing at the Event Center under its new management.  This year, an attempt was made to reduce some of the chaos of previous years with a randomized list of winners based on contest entries, along with a full drawing for the Grand Prizes from all entries submitted.  The event was supported by help from Drive-In employees, Edith’s Collective, Swire Coca-Cola, and other local sponsors.  Over 300 entries for the contest were received, and for the most part the event went off without a hitch.  


Tabernacle display comes to Tremonton (Photo: Tabernacle)

Many of Malad’s youth and adults were on hand to volunteer for the Tremonton stop of the recreation of the biblical tabernacle.  The display featured an informative tour and overview, as well as a full-scale recreation of the tabernacle built by the Israelites after the exodus.  The tour was guided by volunteers from local wards and stakes, including a day set aside for the participation of volunteers from Malad.  The once in a lifetime traveling exhibit was a thrilling sight to those who beheld it. 


Oneida Crisis Center (Photo: Purple)

The Crisis Center sponsored several events during the year as well, including the Suicide Awareness and Prevention Walk, as well as the Paint the Town Purple Picnic in the park, which was established to raise awareness of Domestic violence.  Both events saw large numbers of community members turnout.  The Center also contributed to the Christmas Light Parade with stuffed animals, and continued to support the community with Carol’s Pantry throughout the year.


Arts (Photo: MidsummerNight2, AliceinWonderlandTryouts, ChristmasPlay)

The Malad arts community had a busy year, with a number of plays and art events during the year.  In addition to the traditional melodrama for the Fourth of July celebration, the Iron Door Playhouse and Oxford Peaks Arts Council also presented productions of Alice in Wonderland from the Missoula Children’s Theater, a Midsummer Night’s Dream, Christmas plays, a Haunted Theater, and other events throughout the year.


International News

The story which has affected the international scene this year is undoubtedly the war Russia launched into Ukraine in February.  The War in Ukraine was condemned early on by most international observers, and the U.N.  As a result, Finland and Sweden have both petitioned to join NATO.  What was initially envisioned by Russia as a quick conflict resulting in new land acquisition has instead become a drawn out conflict in which Urkaine has made incursions into Russian territory and gained overwhelming international support.  Recent discussions about a possible cessation to hostilities have been rejected by Ukraine, which will only accept the complete withdrawal of Russia as an endgame.  

The conflict has resulted in a series of international commodities price increases, fuel shortages, and travel issues that are still rippling through the global economy. 

Boris Johnson was replaced as the Prime Minister, followed briefly by the resignation of his replacement Liz Truss.  The turmoil in the upper branches of British government has made for an unstable year in its involvement in international issues.

Queen Elizabeth II also died in 2022, creating a change in the British monarchy for the first time in more than half a century.  King Charles III was coronated as the newest British monarch, setting up a new line of succession with Prince William and his children as the next line of royalty.

Argentina ended up defeating the reigning champion French national team in the World Cup, in what many have since dubbed the “greatest World Cup game in history”.


National News

Spurred by the jump in gas prices, the United States entered a period of its highest inflation in 40 years in 2022.  Fuel price rises dominated the news across the first half of the year, as price per gallon records were set all across the country, including Malad.  June and July (which are typically the most expensive months for gas) were the peak, with an average price occasionally over $5.00 a gallon for a period of several weeks.  The ripple effects of the gas price increase was a rise in costs for all consumer products, which rely on shipping costs.  Groceries, consumer hard-goods, and most manufactured items saw a commensurate rise in prices, which jump started general inflation.

The midterm elections of 2022 were unexpected for the Republicans, as the predicted “red wave” failed to emerge.  The Democrats maintained control of the Senate (although Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona switched party affiliation to Independent after the election), and the Republican majority in the House ended up being much smaller than anticipated.  

In April, Kentanji Brown Jackson was appointed to the Supreme Court.

In May, a gunman murdered 19 students and 2 teachers in an attack on an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, spurring more conversation about gun laws and the efficacy of police responses to shooting events.

In June, the Supreme Court effectively overturned the Roe vs. Wade as settled law, ushering in numerous court challenges, and ushering in a wave of “trigger laws” in states such as Idaho, which effectively banned most abortions. 

In July, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated by a member of a fringe political group.

In August, the FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, retrieving dozens of classified government documents, setting off a still ongoing investigation.

In October, Elon Musk finalized the purchase of Twitter, sending both Tesla stocks and the tech sector into a still unfolding period of upheaval.

In December, a suspect was finally arrested in Pennsylvania for the November slayings of four University of Idaho students.

The Congressional January 6 Committee also finished its work, recommending charges against former President Trump and other members of his administration for their actions leading up to the January 6 storming of the Capitol building.

Celebrity deaths in 2022 were fairly extensive, with a short list including interviewer Barbara Walters, former Pope Benedict XVI, soccer legend Pele, actress Kirstie Alley, monarch Queen Elizabeth II, journalist Grant Wahl, comedian Bob Saget, actress and singer Angela Lansbury, actor Sidney Poitier, pop star Olivia Newton-John, Harry Potter’s Robbie Coltrane, actor Ray Liotta, singer Aaron Carter, actor Leslie Jordan, actress Anne Heche, actor Fred Ward, rapper Coolio, director Peter Bogdonavich, comedian Louie Anderson, actor and singer Meat Loaf, founding member of the Ronnettes Ronnie Spector, Sesame Street’s Emilio Delgado, country legends Loretta Lynn and Naomi Judd, actor James Caan, Leave it To Beaver’s Tony Dow, activist Sacheen Littlefeather, and many more.