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Front Page » June 18, 2002 » Local News » News
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Representatives from Washington D.C. are shown parts of the county that would fall within the heritage area.

Emery County was on display this past Wednesday as Brenda Barrett, the national coordinator for heritage areas from Washington DC visited the proposed San Rafael Swell Western Frontier National Heritage Area. She said, "We visited the pageant site and it was wonderful. Utah is an important state and three heritage areas are being proposed at this time. Yesterday we visited the proposed National Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area on Highway 89.

"Utah has a strong state program for heritage areas. They have a rural development program that is very unusual. Most of the established heritage areas are in the east. Utah is a model and I am excited to be here. I am in complete awe of the work that has been done here in the communities and the energy that is here. I have visited 20 of the 23 heritage areas already designated.

"The New Mexico area is terrific and the one proposed in Louisiana which captures Cajun culture are both strong contenders. Each area is designated one by one and there isn't a framework yet. Legislation has been introduced to set up a formal program.

"Utah has a heritage area strategy. It's important for the communities to believe in the project. The communities have a design and a vision and the community agrees on where they are going. A heritage area is given $1 million a year for 10 years to help in the establishment of the heritage area. It is a team effort between the

parks service and Bureau of Land Management, they will give planning help and interpretive planning. In some areas the parks service has participated in revegetation of an area. They seek to fortify the communities vision for an area," said Barrett.

A breakfast was held in the Museum of the San Rafael for Barrett. On the menu were home grown foods, indicative of the heritage products in our area. Commissioner Randy Johnson welcomed Barrett to the area. He described Emery County as a unique setting of small communities without any large city. He mentioned the mineral lease money that had been utilized to build the museum. "It is unusual for a small community to have a museum of this caliber. We are home to five power plants. We have alpine mountains and the red rock San Rafael Swell. There is more variety in our one county than in most states. It is a great place with many traditions.

"There have been many plans for management of the Swell. Through a national conservation area and a national heritage area. We have had legislation in place but they did not go through. We have heavy opposition from the environmental community. Four states have passed heritage bills using our heritage bill as a model and using our language. We again have a heritage bill in Congress. Emery County is a unique blend of man and nature. We have scenic vistas and we have human history that is an inspiring blend. We can't just protect pretty rocks there are so many values at stake," said Johnson.

Wes Curtis, from the governor's office and the public lands council was next to give Barrett a little of the history of the county. "What we've been doing all along is working to protect and celebrate what we have here. The Castle Valley Pageant has grown from a small production to what it is today. It started out just telling the story to ourselves so we could appreciate the history of our county. Emery County has a historical society that works to preserve our heritage. The centennial project to restore the Buckhorn Panel is like second nature to us, but it is unique. All of these things happened before the heritage area. We are excited, this is where we want to go. I appreciate Brenda and appreciate what she brings to our area as the national coordinator for heritage areas for the national park service. The landscape tells our story. It is the stage for a fantastic drama that is a microcosm of the settlement of the west. We have had cowboys, outlaws, miners, prospectors, pioneers, the mountain men of the Old Spanish Trail. We have fascinating stories and local history. Some famous outlaw hideouts like the Robbers Roost and Browns Hole are in our county.

"One sheriff went outlaw hunting and was sent back to town walking with no pants. The Castle Gate payroll robbery took place in our area and they hopped on horses to get out of town and had the foresight to cut the telegraph wires so news of the robbery wouldn't spread. But, enough of the message came through the lines and a posse was sent out from Huntington and the Castle Dale area. They rode into the Swell. Soon the Castle Dale posse noticed riders and they hid behind boulders and the battle continued. A horse broke loose and bolted out into the open and a Castle Dale posse member recognized the horse as belonging to one of the men from Huntington. So the two posses had been shooting at each other and the outlaws were long gone," said Curtis.

Curtis went on to tell some of the colorful history of the Swasey brothers and the famous Swasey Leap at the Black Box. He told the story of one of the Swaseys in a cabin with a skunk and it smelled so bad the skunk ran out. The Swaseys were the best horsemen around. One time Sid Swasey passed out in a saloon and his buddies decided to play a trick on him and they took him to the cemetery and leaned him up against a tombstone. When he woke up he said, "Well, I'll be danged it's resurrection morning and I'm the first one up."

Curtis also described a county tradition of 'Easterin.' Where the whole county packs up and heads to the desert to camp or picnic and roll easter eggs down hills.

Dixon Peacock took Barrett on a tour of the San Rafael Museum and the Pioneer Museum. She was then treated to an Emery County lamb fry at the Castle Dale park. After lunch the tour continued with stops in Molen at the old Swasey dugout and old homestead. The tour continued to Ghost Rock and a trip to the Eagle Canyon bridge where Barrett looked out and enjoyed the view. The tour also included a stop in Emery Town to visit the historical Emery Church and other buildings of interest. Dinner was served at the Castle Valley Ranch.

Barrett also spent time in Salt Lake visiting with Governor Mike Leavitt while here in Utah.

The primary election will be held on June 25 and the polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Emery County Clerk, Bruce Funk said, "It will be what is referred to as a 'closed primary.' Only the Republicans have candidates that are on the primary ballot. There are no Democratic primary races and as a result there will be no Democratic primary ballot. It is important to note primary elections are a function of the political parties. By law, parties have the right to determine who can vote in their primaries. The Republicans have chosen to close their primary. This means that only Republicans or those willing to affiliate as Republicans at the polls can vote the Republican ballot. If you are on the official registration book as a Democrat, Libertarian, Natural Law or Green Party you will not be able to vote the Republican primary ballot but can vote a nonpartisan ballot which has only the school board tax issue.

"When you go to the polling place an election judge will look in the voter registration book and tell you which party, if any, with which you are affiliated. The majority of the voters in Emery County have no specified party affiliation. The judge will advise you of your options. This is the only year that you can affiliate with a political party at the polling place. In future primaries, if you want to change the party with which you are affiliated it must be done 20 days prior to the primary election.

"There are two ballots available this year. One is the Republican party ballot which will include the candidates running for office as well as including non-partisan issues, school board candidates, propositions, etc. The other is the unaffiliated ballot which includes only the non-partisan issues, school board candidates, propositions, etc.

"This does not effect the Nov. 5, general election which allows you to vote a single party or candidates of various parties. The sample ballots are being printed in the legal section of the newspaper. Please refer to them to clarify any questions you might have. Absent voter ballots are available and can be voted in the clerk/auditor office until June 24. If you have any questions about the upcoming primaries or elections please call me at 381-5106," said Funk.

The Emery County Commissioners met in their regularly scheduled meeting on June 4 at 4 p.m. Those present were Commissioners Ira Hatch and Drew Sitterud, Emery County Attorney, Dave Blackwell and Sheriff Lamar Guymon. Commissioner Sitterud acted as chairman as Commissioner Randy Johnson was absent from the meeting having been called to Washington.

The first item on the agenda was the approval of the audit. Kay Kimball had presented the audit to the commission in a meeting prior to the commission meeting and had reported his findings. The commission approved the report.

The next item on the agenda was the presentation of the check edit list, additional claims, requisitions and add ons for approval. Clerk Bruce Funk presented the items to the commission. He mentioned the add ons which included two new cars and four Durangos for the sheriff's office and also a GPS unit which is being purchased with grant money.

Pat Snowball was next on the agenda with the personnel business. She asked for the approval of Kay Jeffs at the Castle Dale library in a less than 20 hours per week position. Also the approval in the extension office of Courtney McMullin in a position which runs from May 28-Aug. 25. Both of the personnel matters were approved. An employee in the assessor's office is requesting family leave from June 5-July 1. Also in the road department an employee was promoted to solid waste crew leader effective on June 10.

The next item on the agenda was the update from Emery Telcom by Mike McCandless. He said they have a number of projects underway; with fiber being brought to the communities of Elmo and Clawson and the Cleveland project is currently in progress. The Helper project is four weeks away from completion. Wellington is now the only community without fiber. The DSL has been completed in Emery. "We have a new technology to enhance DSL which will be wrapped up by the end of the month afterwhich we will do some testing.

It was reported that some Emery County employees attended the Rural Conference held by Senator Bob Bennett in Cedar City. They will be following up on three leads which could lead to viable employment for the county. They will also be looking at obtaining federal designation to obtain preferred status on federal contracts. The state of Utah has identified five communities and Emery County is one of those communities. The federal government program will take time, but steps have been taken to start down that road and it is encouraging, they reported.

McCandless explained the Smart Site in Orangeville. He said it is housed in Emery Telcom's former office building. It is currently an ad business and call center which employs approximately 30 people. Another company wants to develop a software program for the coal industry. This new program could also qualify under the Smart Site and funding could become available for employee training and funding for computers.

Mayor Glen Johnson from Green River City was next on the agenda. He began by saying how much he appreciates the commission and the sheriff for all they do for Green River. Mayor Johnson mentioned their water treatment plant which was recently finished. Labeling the project a "huge success." He mentioned the loan for the project was quite a burden to put on the shoulders of 900 people.

He said they have received the final bill from the lawyer for the Green River Annexation. The total bill was $40,710.90, this bill was for legal services in the years 2000-01. Emery County helped with a contribution of $15,000 last June. Mayor Johnson requested the county take the matter under advisement and see if they could possibly help contribute to the bill. He said Green River has already paid the bill and is asking for some help in the matter.

Commissioner Hatch said they would take the request under consideration and see what funds are available to help out. The next item on the agenda was the Castle Valley Special Service District with a consideration for tax anticipation borrowing. Darrel Leamaster said last year the voters approved a .002 percent increase. The increase was budgeted in, but will not show up until the end of November or early December. He pointed out they would run short of money in September, October and November and need approximately $120,000 to carry them through. He pointed out they have been approved for the maximum of $200,000 but did not anticipate they would need that much. The interest rate will be 75 percent of prime and checks will be issued. The district will write the checks as needed but Leamaster reiterated that he doesn't anticipate they will need the whole thing. The commission authorized the issuance of tax anticipation borrowing for the CVSSD.

The next item on the agenda was the agreement to reduce an ambulance billing by 50 percent for a needy party. Under the citizen concerns categories, Sheriff Guymon thanked the road department for the improvements in the road to the bridge, "It has really made a difference and we appreciate it."

McCandless pointed out a situation above Huntington where illegal dumping continues to take place. Sheriff Guymon said they have three people on that road that will call the sheriff's office when they see a load of junk going up the road. Suggestions were made to patrol the area more and ticket those dumping illegally. McCandless also said many people use the area for shooting but it is getting difficult to do that with all the garbage in the area. Sheriff Guymon said the dumping spot has been cleaned up, but people still continue to dump there. McCandless wondered if the county might consider a shooting area somewhere. It was pointed out an area by the dump is being used for shotgun shooting.

The next item was the consideration and approval of the grant agreement between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Emery County for library IT upgrade. Jeff Guymon said the grant has been used for computers in every library and a laser printer and server at the main location. An upgrade also needs to be made to get a wireless link to Emery.

Commissioner Hatch explained that efforts have been made to expand public access at the libraries and also the computers in Castle Dale, Huntington and Green River have Spanish profiles so research can be done in Spanish. A website for the library is also available, With this site you can check on all the library books in the system and will be able to tell if they are available to be checked out.

Guymon also mentioned they have had several requests for photographs that are part of the county screensaver and cannot be downloaded. Blackwell said the county has the copyright for the photos and those requesting the photos would need to acknowledge who provided the photo. It was pointed out that some of those photos are needed for the RS-2477 roads issues and are evidence in the matter.

The next item on the agenda was the consideration and the approval of the Emery County Sheriff's Office vest safety program. Sheriff Guymon said the federal government pays for half of the vest and the deputy pays for the other half of the cost which comes from the uniform fund. After these additional vests are purchased all deputies will be covered with vests.

The next item was the consideration and approval of the request to Utah Power to relocate one of the yard lights at the nursing home. The new asphalt is in place in the parking lot and one of the lights could pose a hazard. Utah Power needs the request to be in the minutes of a commission meeting and then they can move the light. Commissioner Hatch said they have had a lot of compliments on the parking lot and plans for adding a sidewalk and gazebo on the front lawn that is wheel chair accessible is underway. Lumber for the gazebo is being donated by Magnuson Lumber.

The next item on the agenda was the presentation of the bids for the 1-70 enhancement project. The low bid selected was for Wall Contractors at a bid of $28,350. The bid was accepted.

The next item was the consideration and approval of a letter of understanding regarding the position of assistant to the Safe Communities Coordinator. It was pointed out the coordinator, Martin Wilson uses the grant money for classroom instruction in the schools, car seat safety checks, seat belt safety, youth traffic court, safe kids week and neighborhood watch. His assistant also helps with these programs and takes minutes at meetings. They are also updating the emergency response plan at this time.

The next item of business was the approval of the minutes with a few minor adjustments. The next item of business was the commission reports. Commissioner Hatch said they had been to the meeting with Skyline Mine and commissioners from Carbon and Sanpete counties. "There was quite a group there. The water is being pumped out of the mine at a rate of approximately 12,000 gallons per minute. Eight thousand of that goes to the Carbon County side and four thousand to Emery County. The mine can't keep ahead of the water. They have coal leases in the western quarter and early next year they plan to mine those out."

It was agreed that the three commissions would submit a request to the community impact board for funding for a feasibility proposal to see if something can be done to pump water and relieve the pressure.

The second and final suspect in one of the state's largest cattle rustling cases was sentenced to prison May 21, by Grand County District Court Judge, Lyle R. Anderson. Chris Young of Gunnison was sentenced to from one-five years in prison, fined $925 and ordered to pay $30,000 restitution to three ranchers in Sanpete and Grand counties. Young's prison sentence was suspended, and he was placed on three years probation and ordered to serve 120 days in the Grand County jail. Prosecutors stated Young's involvement in the theft was of a lesser degree than others involved in the thefts.

Young faces additional livestock theft charges in Sanpete County in connection with the theft of 23 head of cattle belonging to two ranchers in that county. Young is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on those charges in July.

In March, Jesse Vaughn of Sanpete County pleaded guilty to six felony counts of receiving stolen property in connection with the theft of cattle in Grand, Sanpete and Emery counties. Vaughn was ordered to pay $64,500 in restitution to the victim and fined $925. Vaughn also pleaded guilty in Sanpete District Court to three additional charges of felony theft of livestock.

Young's sentencing brings to a close a case involving dozens of head of livestock and thousands of dollars in equipment.

Since January of 2001, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food's Animal Industry brand inspectors recovered 85 head of cows, calves and horses as well as more than $30,000 worth of stolen property. The value of the recovered livestock alone is put at more than $40,000.

AAA Utah is joining forces with the Utah Highway Patrol, the Utah Highway Safety Office and the Coalition for Utah Traffic Safety to host a series of informational forums on Utah's new traffic safety laws.

The forums are designed to assist officers who will enforce the new laws including testing for alcohol levels in blood and breath, violations for failure to use child safety restraints and left lane restrictions. Enforcement of state's graduated driver license laws will also be discussed.

"The new traffic safety laws will be the focus of these meetings," said Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah spokeswoman. "Utah's law enforcement and traffic safety leaders will highlight the new laws, answer questions, and share their perspective on how these new laws can make our streets more safe for motorists and pedestrians."

The forum in the Castle Valley area will be held June 24 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Greenwell Inn in Price.

Handouts for officers include a quick reference guide highlighting the changes as well as a more detailed digest of changes to the Utah vehicle and related codes. Refreshments will also be served.

Anglers who time it right should be in for some great summer fishing at four southeastern Utah waters where the Division of Wildlife Resources has liberalized limits.

Effective immediately, the daily bag and possession limits have been doubled for all game fish in Cleveland Reservoir in Emery County; Miller Flat Reservoir in Emery and Sanpete counties; and Monticello Lake and Recapture Reservoir in San Juan County.

Anglers 14 years of age and older are reminded that they still need a fishing license to fish these waters.

The liberalized limits will remain in effect until Nov. 1.

On Nov. 1, the limits for all species at all these waters will revert back to the original limits set for 2002.

"Three of these reservoirs are being drained or drawn down because of drought conditions in southeastern Utah," said Tom Pettengill, sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

"Monticello Lake, the fourth water, is being drained so repairs can be made to the dam. We've liberalized the limits to allow anglers to take fish that will be lost because of the dewatering."

Pettengill says fishing this summer should be good for anglers who fish the reservoirs at the right time.

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