Date: July 20, 2009
Wes Curtis, Vice President for Government Relations & Regional Services
Southern Utah University Office of Regional Services
CEDAR CITY — “Smart Strategies for Tough Times” is the theme for the 22nd annual Utah Rural Summit, scheduled for Aug. 5-7, 2009, at the R. Haze Hunter Conference Center on the campus of Southern Utah University.
“Energy development and energy policies will have a profound impact on Utah’s rural economy,” said Wes Curtis, SUU’s Vice President for Government Relations and Regional Services. “The same is true for policies that affect public lands management, and how we educate our rural workforce. We are at a critical juncture in how we address these issues.”
Leaders and government officials from across the state will grapple with these and other rural issues during the three days of the annual Summit.
Lieutenant Governor Gary Herbert, Utah Speaker of the House of Representatives David Clark, “local living” guru Michael Shuman, and community success strategist David Ivan will be among the keynote speakers at the event, which is sponsored by SUU’s Office of Regional Services.
Herbert, a long-time supporter of the Rural Summit, will open the conference with a kick-off address on Thursday morning.
Shuman, who serves as Senior Partner in Local Economy Associates and Vice President for Enterprise Development at the Training & Development Corporation of Washington D.C., will anchor the summit by sharing proven strategies for building local economies through a “local living” approach.
Clark, a Washington County representative who lives in rural Santa Clara, will discuss legislative issues, including the state budget and health care, during Friday’s lunchtime keynote address.
Friday’s morning session will feature a “Small Town Success Strategies” presentation by Ivan, a nationally renowned speaker who has personally visited 250 best-practice communities in 10 states.
In addition to Herbert, Clark, Shuman and Ivan, other presenters will include Dianne R. Nielson, the governor’s energy adviser, and Jeff Packer, chairman of the Utah Rural Development Council.
Nielson will discuss state energy policy and topics such as the Western Climate Initiative, Utah renewable energy projects and energy transmission across rural Utah, while Packer will report on the activities of the Governor's Rural Partnership Board.
Of particular importance to many rural counties will be a breakout session discussing the lessons learned from the Washington County Lands Bill process, and what other counties can expect to encounter as they pursue their own lands bill legislation. This panel will feature staff from Senator Bob Bennett’s Washington D.C. office, as well as other key players involved in the creation and passage of the bill.
A special public lands panel consisting of the State Director of the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service’s Intermountain Region’s Deputy Regional Forester, and the Utah State Coordinator of the National Park Service will be a highlight.
Other breakout sessions will focus on Utah agriculture issues and state & federal agriculture resources, public lands management and use, growth and development planning resources for rural communities, the creative and arts economy, non-profits’ roles across rural Utah, tourism and recreation, rural economic development assistance, and small town success stories.
The Summit will also include a field trip and evening activity on Aug. 5. During the afternoon, participants will tour renewable energy projects in Beaver County, including a geothermal energy plant and Utah’s first large-scale wind energy field, currently under development. The evening activity is a return engagement of the rollicking Mock Planning Commission meeting featuring Cedar City’s own planning commissioners.
In addition to SUU, the summit is co‐sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, USU Extension Services, and Rocky Mountain Power.
Registration cost is $99. To register, call 435‐586‐5455 or visit utahreach.org/urs/.
Exhibitors may rent space on a first‐come, first‐served based. Booths cost $100; they are limited to 10 by 8 feet. To rent exhibit space, contact Kathleen McDowell at 435‐586‐7738.
More information about the Utah Rural Summit is available at utahreach.org/urs/.