Bloomington recovery center suffers vandalism, threats; Payson recovery center hailed a ‘good neighbor’

Signs both opposing and supporting a planned drug and alcohol treatment facility stand side-by-side at the Bloomington interchange. Aug. 9, 2013 | Photo courtesy of Samantha Aiken

ST. GEORGE – Vandals struck a proposed residential drug and alcohol recovery center in the Bloomington community of St. George on Wednesday night, damaging both the home, as well as a trailer belonging to a contractor hired to help remodel the home.

While residential drug and alcohol treatment centers are rarely greeted with open arms when they first appear in a community, in Bloomington, opposition may have crossed the line from civil dissent into malicious destruction of property. In Payson, a similar residential facility is owned and managed by the same people, yet every neighbor that St. George News spoke with said that their worries vanished as they soon began to view the residents of the facility as neighbors rather than interlopers.

Bloomington

The Bloomington house is currently undergoing renovation into an eight-bedroom residential facility. It has recently been the subject of controversy ever since it was purchased by Steps Recovery Center in June.

Many residents in the neighborhood have held meetings to organize their efforts to stop the placement of the facility in the affluent community. The group swarmed a town hall style meeting with U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart last month and demanded that Mayor Dan McArthur and the city do something to stop it.

Vandals sprayed an unknown chemical across the stucco walls of the residential recovery center in Bloomington. Oct. 18, 2013 | Photo by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News
Vandals sprayed an unknown chemical across the stucco walls of the residential recovery center in Bloomington. Oct. 18, 2013 | Photo by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News

Residents had hoped that the city would deny the zoning variances that the center needed to operate the 24-bed facility originally planned for the property.

Denying the variance would have likely violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which provides legal protection for residential treatment facilities. However, the owners of the recovery center sidestepped the city by limiting the facility to eight beds, which is already allowed under current zoning regulations.

Vandalism and mischief

Mike Jorgensen, co-founder of Steps Recovery Center, said he worries the vandalism might represent an escalation in the neighbors’ efforts to stop the facility from opening in December.

“It’s all over the sides of the building,” Jorgensen said. Police described the chemical that the vandals sprayed as a foamy substance which has left long, discolored streaks across the stucco siding of the house. Jorgensen said he believes that the entire house will now need to be repainted, which he expects could cost more than $2,000.

A contractor’s trailer was also damaged by the vandals. “They sprayed (the chemical) right across the phone number,” Jorgensen said. “It’s bubbling the paint on the trailers.”

“It’s unfortunate that there are still a few in the neighborhood who are resorting to childish actions,” Jorgensen said. However, he said he did not want the entire neighborhood to be judged by the actions of a few. “I’m grateful for the support of the majority of the community,” he said. “I’ve received a lot of phone calls and people reaching out with apologies for the behavior of their neighbors.”

On Oct. 6, Jorgensen said that the night watchman chased away trespassers after he overheard people prowling around the the yard late at night. “He overheard somebody talking about burning the house down,” Jorgensen said. He filed a police report, but he said that police have not yet identified the prowler.

A week later, the same night watchman chased away a group of teenagers who were strewing toilet paper across the property. One of the kids dropped his cell phone as he ran, Jorgensen said. It was soon discovered that one of the pranksters was the son of Warren Church, a vocal leader of resistance efforts in the neighborhood.

“One of the other boys called and apologized to me,” Jorgensen said. “He told me that one of the parents had put him up to it.” Jorgensen asked the boy if it was Church who told them to toilet paper the trees. The boy was silent for a few seconds, Jorgensen said, before telling him that he didn’t want to say who put them up to it.

“That’s a complete lie,” Church said, denying that he had anything to do with the boys’ decision to target the recovery center. “My kid told me that they chose that location because it was a big property and it had a lot of low-hanging trees.”

Church said that he reprimanded his son. “They went and cleaned it up,” he said. “There was zero property damage. These are teenagers who are 15 to 16 years old. They’re not engaged in drugs or sex or alcohol, but just looking for a little bit of safe adventure.”

Vandals sprayed an unknown chemical across the stucco walls of the residential recovery center in Bloomington. Oct. 18, 2013 | Photo by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News
Vandals sprayed an unknown chemical across the stucco walls of the residential recovery center in Bloomington. Oct. 18, 2013 | Photo by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News

Church said that he regrets the vandalism that occurred to the house last Wednesday night. “I have had nothing to do with any vandalism on his property,” he said. “Whoever did that definitely crossed the line. I would be furious if that happened on my property. That’s serious destruction. It’s going to cost somebody serious money to fix it.”

Many of the neighbors are quite angry, Church said.

“It doesn’t surprise me that somebody would want to take matters into their own hands,” he said. He recalled that, at a meeting held in August, audience members discussed harassing the contractors who were hired to remodel the house. “I remember the hostility of somebody in the crowd who wanted to know the name and number of the contractors,” he said.

At the Aug. 2 meeting at Bloomington Elementary, Church had the microphone when the discussion turned to harassing the contractors. Church responded by saying that it wasn’t an appropriate course of action for the group they were forming. “That would have to be a personal agenda for you,” he said.

“I myself have heard a lot of upset people,” Church said, “talking about what they wish they could do and what they want to do. I am a grown adult and I know the law and what he is doing is not worth a felony.”

Code-enforcement complaints

Jorgensen has placed a sign in front of the house offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who vandalized the property. Warren Church and other neighbors have said that the sign is in violation of city code and they want it removed.

“He has an illegal sign posted in his yard, which a code enforcement officer will tell him to remove or he’ll get fined,” Church said, arguing that the sign is technically advertising a business. “Mike Jorgensen is trying to pay the community,” he said, “he’s offering a reward to the citizens of the neighborhood to watch the property. It’s illegal.”

The Bloomington residents have asked the city to force Jorgensen to take down the sign, Church said. “Somebody in our neighborhood sent an email to the mayor,” he said. “The mayor replied, ‘yes, I see this as a problem. We will send out code enforcement officers right away.’” Church said that he had a copy of the email but that Bob Cheek was the neighbor who sent it. 

The sign reflects poorly on the neighborhood, Cheek said, where homes routinely sell for more than a half-million dollars. “There’s a $500 reward sign. How does that make the neighborhood look?” he asked.

“It makes it seem like we have vandalism in the neighborhood.” Cheek said that yes, he did send the email, and that McArthur said that he would take care of the problem.

The city did look into the report, Assistant to the City Manager, Marc Mortensen said.“We had a call from the mayor to go check out what a neighbor or resident reported — what they thought was an illegal sign,” he said. “So we sent our code enforcement officers out there to take pictures. (The legal department) reviewed it and we can find nothing in violation with the sign.”

The challenge to his reward sign wasn’t the first encounter Jorgensen has had with the code enforcement division. After his night-security officer chased people off the property twice in one week, Jorgensen reported the incidents to the police. The next day, he said, his attorney received an email from the City of St. George Deputy City Attorney, Paula Houston. 

–––

ED. CORRECTION / CLARIFICATION (Nov. 2, 2013): This report as first published erroneously stated, above, that Jorgensen said that the next day he was called by City Attorney Shawn Guzman.  To correct and clarify: Jorgensen said that the next day his attorney, Gary Kuhlmann, received an email from Deputy City Attorney Paula Houston concerning the matter of someone living on the property. The man then residing on the property was paid for caretaking services, Jorgensen said on Nov. 2, and was not charged rent or given board in exchange for services.

–––

The owners of the recovery center put this sign up after vandals defaced the exterior of the house. Bloomington, Oct. 22, 2013 | Photo courtesy of Mike Jorgensen
The owners of the recovery center put this sign up after vandals defaced the exterior of the house. Bloomington, Oct. 22, 2013 | Photo courtesy of Mike Jorgensen

“The city attorney (see Ed. clarification above) contacted me and told me that I’ve got to get my security guy out of the house,” Jorgensen said. “They say I need to have a rental license for him to stay here.” Jorgensen said he feels like he is in a no-win situation.“So the city can’t catch the guy who sprayed the house, they can’t catch the guy who threatened to burn it down, but they are going to tell me I can’t have a security guy on the premises?”

It was Cheek who filed the complaint, Mortensen said, and when Jorgensen confirmed that the man who was living on the property was performing a service in return for board, the city had no choice but to take action. (See Ed. clarification above.)

“That’s considered rent,” Mortensen said.

“We never told them that they had to leave, but the city attorney told them that they would have to obtain a rental license,” he said. “This all occurred before we knew that a police report had been filed, so it was not in retaliation to anybody. We needed to investigate the complaint, and we found Mr. Jorgensen to be in violation.”

Apples-to-apples

Jorgensen said that he has been through this before. The house in Bloomington will not be the first Steps Recovery Center location. Jorgensen and his partner, Christian Smith, opened their first residential recovery center in Payson in 2009. Jorgensen remembers that many residents in the Payson neighborhood shared some of the same concerns as those in Bloomington.

Faith Bingham lives right across the street from the Payson facility. “We were really concerned about it – I won’t say that we weren’t when we didn’t’ know anything about it,” she said. Bingham said that there haven’t been any issues at all. “My husband was the LDS bishop for this area and Mike Jorgensen would try to find service projects for his patients to do in the neighborhood, or for people that needed help.”

On snowy mornings, Bingham said, the residents at the facility are out in the street, shoveling the neighbors’ cars out of snow drifts.

At the house next door to the Payson treatment center, Chad Farr said that when the community discovered that a recovery center was coming to their neighborhood, they organized to try to stop it from opening.

“The other neighbors started a petition and wanted people to sign it because they didn’t want a drug rehabilitation facility right here,” he said, “but it’s not been a problem.”

In the four years it’s been open, Farr has lived right next door to the facility and he said he’s never even heard of the residents causing any issues. “They’re fine, you know? They are just people just like anybody else; they just have some problems,” he said, “but who doesn’t, honestly?

“You can have good neighbors and bad neighbors anywhere,” Farr said, “and these people have always been good neighbors to me. They always wave. They’re just like neighbors; I’ve never feared for my kids’ safety.”

Another neighbor named Heather, who asked that her last name not be used, echoed the same sentiment as every immediate neighbor that was home when a St. George News reporter visited the neighborhood in September. “It’s not a big deal,” Heather said, “it’s not like you’re asleep in the middle of the night and they try and break into your house. That just doesn’t happen.”

A man named Coulson said he thinks that there is actually less crime in the immediate neighborhood surrounding the facility.

“At night time, the whole place is lit up,” Coulson said. The light isn’t so bright that it’s a nuisance, he said, but enough that you can see your yard clearly. “It’s like on a moonlit night,” he said.

“At least in our area, crime and stuff has gone down,” Coulson said.

Bingham said she thinks the people who opposed the facility — who acted before they really understood what it was — are motivated by an irrational fear. She said:

I know there is a fear factor because people have a stigma about what kind of people it will bring in, and how people are labeled, and what they feel drug addicts look like, and what type of people they are. These people that have been in this program have not been who we thought they would be. They’re just people trying to make their lives right again; and we haven’t felt it was a problem in any way at all. Except that we were frightened at first, also.

St. George News reporter Tracie Parry, contributed to this report from Payson. 
 
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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Signs both opposing and supporting a planned drug and alcohol treatment facility stand side-by-side at the Bloomington interchange. Aug. 9, 2013 | Photo by Samantha Aiken, St. George News
Signs both opposing and supporting a planned drug and alcohol treatment facility stand side-by-side at the Bloomington interchange. Aug. 9, 2013 | Photo courtesy of Samantha Aiken

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50 Comments

  • tom October 22, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    How does this behavior from the residents coincide with their self righteous attitude? Enlighten me.

    • Bryan Adamson October 27, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      First, let’s all assume that A Bloomington resident did the vandalism. After all, it couldn’t possibly have been a drug addict that was unhappy with his treatment in Payson. It couldn’t possibly have been one of Mike Jorgensen’s shady business partners. Nor could it have been random violence towards an abandoned home. However, assuming (as you have done) that it was a Bloomingon resident, why is it self-righteousness to not want a drug rehab center ( a business) ind residential neighborhood? Let’s have some intellectual honesty. No one wants a business near their home. It really is that simple. Gas stations are needed to , but I would not want a Maverick built next door.

  • crystal October 22, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Just wow! People are so ignorant and hateful it’s distgusting.

    • David October 27, 2013 at 11:42 am

      This article is what is disgusting. It tries to convince everyone that people in Bloomington are hateful without having facts about what happened. Then tries to make Warren Church the bad guy, for trying to stop the good guy, Jorgensen, from only putting in an apartment complex full of people with drug habits. The city would sue an apartment owner for renting to them but i digress. So this horrible Mr. Church doesn’t want this place next to him and even offered to buy house, but good guy Jorgensen, who only wants to help people, well, except for the people in the community that have lived there for 20 plus years. If only there were not those pesky facts, like 10k per month each drug user pays or the state pays for them, making 24 users pay Jorgensen 2.4 million per year. Next time you judge Bloomington, make sure us want to make a guy rich by ruining a neighborhood exploiting a law never meant for this. Jorgensen was offered money to leave, was given six other better locations to set it up. When was the last time you saw a 20 million dollar business set up shop in your neighborhood, oh right, it illegal, well except when you exploit laws meant to help the disabled. This author of this article should be ashamed of himself.

  • Ron October 22, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Classy, real classy Bloomington residents.

  • -d October 22, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    StG residents being closed minded and hateful. Shocking. Really.

  • Blu Robinson October 22, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Sad that a select few have found vandalism as healthy, mature way to problem solve. Even more interesting is the fact that everyone, and I mean everyone on this ball of mud called Earth has a loved one ho struggles from addiction. Could be a mother, father, sister, brother, aunt or uncle, cousin, grandparents friend, everyone has someone that struggles.

    Any educated individual understands they have the freedom to choose their attitude in any given set of circumstances. Educated people everywhere understand this as they see the challenges in their life as opportunities – not as bringing opportunities, but as opportunities in and of themselves. What Mr. Church seems not to understand or refuses to see is other people’s problems are our opportunities. Finding ways to create value for others by helping them through their own hard times is a key to prosperity. He and others who fear this kind of stuff should invest in getting to know what is really happening, not what they fear could happen.

    Good luck STEPS, hundreds of valuable people and their family’s will be saved by your actions.

    Blu Robinson.

  • Michael "Cheese" October 22, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    It’s unfortunate that the irrational behavior of a few would tarnish the positive collaboration of a supposedly family friendly community with a great service for those that are looking for nothing more than a place to overcome their struggles with peace and dignity. In my experience, you’ll find that the future residents of the house that was vandalized will be more forgiving than those in the neighborhood who are aggressively attempting to prohibit this house from becoming a reality. Having worked with troubled youth for over 15 years has helped me overcome a lot of prejudices and misconceptions about those who struggle with the “formalities” of life. They’re not just people with issues, they’re my brothers and sisters, and I embrace them. They are some of the bravest people I know, facing real life or death challenges, something the regular Joe will never fully comprehend – they are only looking for a fighting chance, who am I to deny them that. Being far from perfect, who am I to judge them?
    In this era where we see a lot of Me, Me, Me, in society…we forget the opportunity to love our neighbor. They say you can tell a lot about the character of a man by the service he provides those who do not have the ability to return the favor. The fear of the unknown is very understandable – however when we have the courage to venture outside of our comfort zone we find our lives have become enriched beyond compare.
    We could easily cast lots for both sides, but seeing how I live in a glass house I’ll save my stone casting for myself. Remember – love makes the world go round, and you my friend will be better for it.

  • DBL October 23, 2013 at 12:23 am

    Once you have lived in Bloomington this behavior makes sense. Sad story that extreme values & good intentions often become the problem for both sides of these neighbor wars. No one wins when pride and hatred sore the hearts of good people.

    Wars as old as Cain- “my idea of what to do with my land is better than yours. And I will force you to see it like I do.” I wouldn’t want to be the one to pull the trigger Mayor McArthur.

    • Aaron Tippetts October 30, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      I second that DBL.

  • lori October 23, 2013 at 12:44 am

    Sadly I’m not surprised. I’m heartbroken that people… good lds people that I know are so judgemental and ignorant. Just because someone is on drugs doesn’t make them automatically a bad person. I believe in karma and I believe that for the sins thy heavenly father sends lessons. Sending prayers to soften their hearts. <3. Jorgensen, I live close by snd I would voulenteer to come do night watch from my car in shifts. Maybe we could find others to come do the same. I'm sorry for your loss and pain. If I had money than I would donate funds to repair. Let me know what I can do

  • lori October 23, 2013 at 12:52 am

    If it ends up being thier kids on drugs. They will realize the good that every person is born with to thier core. Everyone is a child of god that is worth more than your damn house vallues you worship with you noses in the air.. why don’t you take that money gold and riches all of you and donate it to a good cause. Or maybe even to this cause. That would be the christlike thing to do. Leave the judging to him and let go of trying to control.. God Bless

  • Mike Brugger October 23, 2013 at 6:51 am

    I live in Bloomington Ranches and could not be more ashamed and embarrassed by these actions! Please don’t judge us all by the actions of these hypocrites!

  • Tyson Parsley October 23, 2013 at 7:18 am

    These people act like spoiled kids. Affluent neighborhood??? HAHAHAHA Have you seen Bloomington lately? ERADICATE Bloomington!

  • philiplo October 23, 2013 at 8:03 am

    “There’s a $500 reward sign. How does that make the neighborhood look?” Cheek said. “It makes it seem like we have vandalism in the neighborhood.”
    .
    .
    Attention, Bob Cheek: Did you get a good look at what someone did to that house and the contractor’s trailer? You DO have vandalism in the neighborhood. Judging by which property was affected, it’s very likely someone you know, who supports your efforts to get rid of this facility, who did the damage.

  • Shannon B. October 23, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I’m an Addict in Recovery, whos been Clean for 3 years, and who also went through a treatment center here in St. George. Upon entering treatment we need to feel safe, we are trying to help save our own lives! Makes me very sad that people would terrorize individuals who are trying to survive and arrest this disease, so they can find a new way of life! We all deserve a chance to be a part of this world, ultimately…. This is a disease that kills, who would deny someone the right to live?! Breaks my heart.

  • Max October 23, 2013 at 9:12 am

    This makes me shake my head. I am a recovering addict and have been for the last 5 years. My life today has not the slightest resemblance to my life when I was on drugs. When I was using I had no hope for my future I was alone and afraid and didn’t want to go on living but I didn’t want to die. Some miracles happened in my life and if it wasn’t for places like this my life wouldn’t have been saved. I just wanted a way out but I didn’t know how to get there. Places like this show people like me the way out. Places like this free peoples broken souls and show them how to live happy lives, something so foreign to an addict that most people just can’t understand. Today I have loving relationships in my life. I am part of society. I have a college degree and am on a successful career path, but more than all that I am comfortable with myself today. Today I want to live and I know hope.

  • tom October 23, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Mike, I was not judging anyone and I apologize if you or anyone else thought I was. I truly just want to hear from the residents that are opposed to this facility that thought committing a crime against this place was the proper thing to do because they don’t want this facility housing people that might commit crime in Bloomington. It seems to me that the only crime that had or will occur because of this place is being done by some select residents against the place. How do they suppose anyone will take those concerns seriously now? I just want an answer from anyone to explain this to me and the rest of the community. It is difficult to convey my tone correctly here but I am not saying any of this with anger or attitude. I am simply asking a question. 

    • Tom October 29, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      What i would like to know, is how you know, it was a resident of Bloomington. Jorgenson knows hundred of drug users, some he maybe chasing for money. He had just let his night watchman go, maybe it was him. Maybe facts should be present before making accusations. Just maybe he want insurance money, lots of maybe’s. If you cant think for yourself in such a one sided article, maybe you should not be commenting.

  • Dan October 23, 2013 at 9:44 am

    The people who did this vandalism and others who threatened to burn the house down are much more of a threat to society than any of the residents at a treatment home could ever be. Angry people who are “anti” anything and willing to act out, are the biggest threat we have. Glad these vandals are not in my neighborhood!

  • Combat Vet and Democrat October 23, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I understand that the mayor should take a look at his own property before he sends anyone out to look at the reward sign. I see the sign as “free speech” issue.

  • Jerry Camobell Jr October 23, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Cheeks said, “it makes it seem like we have vandalism in the neighborhood.” Well Mr. Cheeks apparently you do have vandalism in the neighborhood. I wish you and others that look at this house as bad thing would educate yourselves before you took action. These addicts in recovery are looking for help, for a new way of life the greatest thing we can do in this life is be of service to others. In loving, we learn love.

  • Lisa October 23, 2013 at 11:05 am

    No one wants a “drug rehab” in their neighborhood, BUT if they have a loved one that is in need of addiction help, that’s another story isn’t it!

    • Tom October 29, 2013 at 11:53 am

      This is a business, there are zoning laws for businesses. Guess what, businesses are not allowed in subdivisions. Keep up! Commercial zones allow for this type of business, no one is saying that addictions should not be treated, there is a place for everything.

  • joanna October 23, 2013 at 11:06 am

    As far as the facility, I could take it or leave it, but let’s get one thing straight. The addicts are not Americans with Disabilities. And they don’t have a “disease”. I know a guy who finished treatment last year and he is far from diseased or disabled. The guy just drank way too much, and now he doesnt.

    End of rant.

    • Max October 23, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      The American medical association termed addiction as a mental disease in 1987 Joanna it’s not up for debate that’s what it is

  • Chris October 23, 2013 at 11:08 am

    The author states that the ADA “provides legal protection for residential treatment facilities.” This is not true. The ADA prohibits discrimination in housing against disabled persons. A treatment facility is not housing in either a legal or factual sense. It is no more housing than a hospital is. The existing case law related to the ADA as it applies to treatment facilities for addiction is vague and inconclusive. Statements by city officials that the ADA is forcing their hand in this matter is based on faulty legal advice by the city attorney. Those who are fighting the treatment facility in Bloomington have a legitimate legal argument that should be heard in a court of law. The city does a disservice to these residents by not backing them in this case.

  • Dave October 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    I’m not judging either side of this issue, however, regarding the idea that the reward sign was put up, did the residents of Bloomington get city approval for all their yellow signs around the neighborhood? Just wondering. Perhaps they did. But if not, than they have created their own broken rules about signage.

  • Greg October 23, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    A few thoughts:

    1. I am not at all in favor of anyone using vandalism or force regardless of which side they are on.

    2. I understand and accept that a lot of good people find themselves in bad situations. Sometimes the bad situations result from bad choices. Regardless of the cause, compassion is a good thing.

    3. If the people who are ready to grab pitchforks in counter protest, stop and think, they should be able to understand why some people wouldn’t want this kind of facility next to their house. I am familiar with another facility in St. George where one of the residents re-lapsed and then mistakenly entered the home of a neighbor in the middle of the night. Fortunately no one was harmed. But is it a stretch to think that someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol who mistakenly enters a home in the middle of the night might harm the occupants?

    4. Is it possible to call someone self-righteous without being self-righteous?

  • Billy October 23, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    My sisters neighbor from down the street had a little too much to drink and walked into my sisters house last month. Funny thing is she does not live anywhere near a treatment facility. Maybe, just maybe some things can happen in any neighborhood even when you don’t have a treatment center to take the blame.

    But that is logic, like putting a sign in front of a house that was vandalized, and the problem with it is it will make the neighborhood look like is has vandalism.

    Or Mr Church saying he does not agree with vandalism, but it does not surprise him his neighbors would do it. he has such a high opinion on who he lives next to I hope he does not take up a cause that puts him on their bad side.

  • Typical October 23, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Way to go Bloomington stake Mormons. Your true colors are showing.

    • Tom October 29, 2013 at 11:42 am

      I missed the part in the article that said the person was from Bloomington, or was a morman. Maybe you could fill in what you know.

  • Kara October 24, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have a done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” –somewhere in the Bible 🙂

  • peacefulinstgeorge October 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    I lived here for 7 years in the 90’s. I moved away and have been back for two years. There are a few reasons I am not Mormon. 1) I was looking for God and I was up North with my ex husband and his family and we are at the church up there and I wasn’t allowed in. I didn’t know God but I was searching and right then I said THIS IS NOT GOD. God would let me in. 2) The Mormons have their own book. 3. The first time I saw a polygamist family I was terrorized. I have learned to not be terrorized by polygamist but I wont forget my first encounter. Kara you bring up a quote from the BiBLE…I don’t see Mormons reading the BIBLE…I see them in the break room reading the BOOK OF MORMON….however, lately I have been bringing my Bible into the break room. I am not Mormon, but I am a believer in Jesus. Jesus is my Lord and Savior, He died and rose again the third day and sits at the right hand thrown of the Father, I am a sinner saved by grace and everyday I need his Mercy and grace and forgiveness because I am a sinner, I am not sinless I am not Jesus…I mess up….i ONCE WAS BLIND BUT NOW I SEE. And being denied access to the Mormon church was part of my journey. Mormons are people too, they are sinners and they need to be saved by grace like everyone else. They just don’t see that, they are blind. No different than any other non believer. My son is a meth addict. My son needs to be saved too.

    • Ruth October 25, 2013 at 8:37 am

      What. *scratches head*

    • Anon October 25, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      I’m confused. First, this article is about a treatment center for addictions. What does your opinion on the LDS church have to do with this article? Second, non-members are not allowed in the temple but they ARE allowed, even welcomed, in a general meeting house. Also, Mormons DO read the bible. In fact, the new testament, old testament, the book of mormon,, and doctrine and covenants are often bound together. Finally, the polygamists that you are referring to are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) not to be confused with the actual LDS church. Practicing polygamy gets you excommunicated from the Mormon church.

      But again, what does any of that have to do with this article?

      • Craig October 26, 2013 at 3:58 pm

        EVERY time an LDS missionary has shown up on my doorstep, I invite them to discuss the Holy Bible with me. They can’t. They have very little knowledge of what is contained in the Holy Bible. They do, however want to discuss their cult book of mormon. I have read that cult book and it is good for laughs.
        Now the Jehovah’s Witnesses, on the other hand are VERY WELL Versed in the Holy Bible.
        But again, what does any of that have to do with this article?

        • Anon October 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm

          When my brother came home from his mission our stake president quoted the bible and my brother, without looking it up, was able to recite the location of said scripture. Remember YOUR experience-is just that-an experience. Its not fact. If missionaries can not discuss the bible than they aren’t very good missionaries. That doesn’t mean that ALL missionaries are like that. Way to generalize and assume.

    • Tom October 29, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Not a religious issue moron!

    • nite owl March 2, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      so what about polygamists “terrorized” you? You sound like a very confused “Christian”. Plus you sound like a ranting fool.

  • Mike Jorgensen October 25, 2013 at 10:17 am

    My name is Mike Jorgensen. I am the owner of Steps Recovery Center and am the person who is opening the Residential Treatment Facility in Bloomington. I feel I should jump in on this discussion and hopefully clarify two important points.

    First: While most of the neighbors who oppose our facility are LDS, (most neighbors in Utah are LDS) they are not a fair representation of the local LDS Ward or Stake. Nor do I believe their actions and behaviors reflect the teachings or beliefs of any mainstream religion. I have communicated with the Bishop as well as a member of the Stake Presidency, (who may or may not be running for Mayor) and even though they both had personal concerns about our coming to their neighborhood, they both treated me with respect and kindness and acknowledged their ecclesiastical responsibilities to our Clients, Mormon and non-Mormon.

    Second: The organizers of the protest against our facility are but a small handful of Bloomington residents. So many more of the Bloomington neighbors have reached out, welcomed us to their neighborhood, and have expressed their support and appreciation of programs like ours. We should not judge an entire community based on the actions of a few misguided, but well-meaning individuals.

    I am humbled, honored and grateful for all of the support I have received. I acknowledge and respect the opinions of those who oppose me. My hope is that both sides of this debate find love and tolerance toward each another, and respect the rights of those who have an opposing point of view, regardless of their financial status and religious affiliations.

    Mikej

    • Tom October 29, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Mike, i am glad you have at least taken religion out of this discussion. It is to bad your place was damaged. With that said, why, with hundreds of people in the comunity apposed to what you are doing to their community would you do that to them. Everyone agrees, there should be places like this for people, however, putting it in a subdivision is just plain stupid. You appear to be a selfish narcisist putting a large business in a subdivision. There is no security, putting 30 people in a house has impact, visitor and employees will increase traffic in a neighborhood with small children. If it wasn’t for a law passed for different purposes, it would be illegal. This is a 200k dollar a month business, with 6 employees, certainly you could afford other places more suitable. Maybe next to your house, oh wait i was at a meeting where 6 people said that you said you wouldn’t want it in your neighborhood. Business should not be in residential neighborhoods period, otherwise, first it is your business, next its a jack in the box, just like a law meant to protect people that couldn’t walk now is protecting people who chose to put needles in their arms. Destroying a neighborhood for your personal gain is wrong, you know it, and everyone who thinks about it with honesty knows it as well.

      • nite owl March 2, 2014 at 8:45 pm

        “People said that you said”. You can’t even use that in court. It is called hearsay.

  • climber October 26, 2013 at 11:44 am

    As an addict in recovery myself I have a hard time defining addiction as a disease. It seems like a cop out to me. For myself and my recovery I dont use that term.. but yes in terms of professional psychology and medicine it is defined as a disease.

  • David October 27, 2013 at 11:01 am

    I own apartment complexes and have been sued by a city for allowing drug user into my apartments. Yet apartments are not allowed in residential neighborhoods. Now, how does this make since, first the city allows apartment living in residential neighborhoods now as long as they are drug addicts? It appears they want drug addicts living in residential neighborhoods stacked up. If only there was a solution? Morons! The article does not cover the bigger story. It’s written to cover up the true travesty. It’s now legal to convert a half million dollar home in a residential neighborhood into a 200k dollar a month income business. That business would then be worth, let’s see, to get appraised value is, 200k times 12 equals 2,400,000 then times ten years equals 24 million. There’s the story, “Man takes 1/2 million, dupes the city and residents and makes 20 million”. You mean someone is mad? Really? Laws need changed, apartments should not be allowed in residential neighborhoods, even if they are full of drug users or should i say especially if they are full of them. This helps no one, but the owner of the drug center to continue to make money by exploiting cities and people who own houses nearby.

    • Anon October 27, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Your ignorance is showing.

      • David October 27, 2013 at 9:04 pm

        Care to explain the insult, since the insult you cast is about my ignorance, why dont u care to bring me up to speed on your superior understanding. Given that all the info i gave was fact, I’d love to hear it.

  • Aaron Tippetts October 30, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    You know the last time I was in Purgatory I couldnt help but to notice an increase in the amount of heroine and oxycontin addicts in there with me. I wouldnt have taken notice ordinarily except that these young kids were always on the phone trying desperately to get bailed out. And their mothers were so upset that they had to drive all the way from Bloomington to pick them up from jail.

    • Festus November 3, 2013 at 11:24 pm

      O ya I’m sure the parents of the drug addicted young people were absolutely distraught about the drive..

  • Bloomington Resident February 27, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    lol Solid Point Aaron maybe we should just build a Purgatory Jail center in the middle of Bloomington park, I mean the convicts are people to right, and Im sure some people hate the drive, this is ridiculous! It is so easy to say how people are shedding hatred on addicts or drug users for not wanting them in their neighborhood, but the question I have is WHY? WHY THERE? No one will answer on why he has to build it in the one spot that people have a problem with it. If he has been offered money, and he has 6 FREAKEN different acceptable locations, then why doesn’t he want to move the rehab center to one of the other 6 locations. Because as stated before as much as this guy is in it to help addicts, he also wants money, people can’t seem to wrap their heads around that. Pull on some sensitive strings and people only see and hear what they want you to. I have a brother and cousin in rehab right now, I think it is smart to keep it out of a residential area. Make their success, a success of coming home, not a success of walking out of your rehab only to turn around and walk into your home across the street lol. Are you guys crazy??? I don’t think vandalism is the solution at all, but I do think that taking a 5 min. drive to the rehab center in st. george city isn’t that hard. Also those putting labels or names to the people of Bloomington off of random/weird/and just plain stupid of your so called “facts” act like they are not in the wrong. With the things you guys are saying, you can’t really be calling the people of Bloomington judgmental with out being judgmental yourselves. It’s so frustrating to see people miss the lack of the big picture. It’s like the same people who would donate money to the Kony guy to help kids in africa,but the kids are suffering people would say, what did that guy do, he tugged on some sensitive issues of the people and they gave him money. Where did you end up finding that guy. It was all a scam, and he ended up naked and arrested drugged out of his mind. Step back from the issue and be smart people. Save our addicts, but not this way. Don’t let someone take away your freedom to think, again 5 min. from this location there is 12 rehab centers, and more locations this guy has been offered with money. It’s so hard to help people realize, I feel like the only thing I have realized from your comments is if you mess with Pigs, you both get dirty! Cheers

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