Chris Holmes

News Correspondent - Southern Utah

Chris Holmes will soon graduate with a Masters of Professional Communication from Southern Utah University. While at SUU his work received numerous awards including the 2009 King Foundation Best of Festival Award in the National Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts. Chris is also the host of the daily public affairs program, Southern Utah Forum on radio station KSUB (Cedar City, Utah). He lives in Cedar City, with wife, Marie and five children.

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt with what some media outlets are calling an historic blow to executive powers, when it invalidated four 2012 appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, in a decision Thursday.

At issue was whether the Senate was in session, or in recess, at the time of the appointments. 

Senator Mike Lee:

http://scijinks.jpl.nasa.gov/

It represents one of the most concentrated repositories of ancient petroglyphs and astronomic observational features anywhere—an American Stonehenge.  The summer solstice will be observed at the Parowan Gap on Saturday.

The Arizona attorney general is asking a federal judge to disband the town marshal’s office in the FLDS towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona. 

In a federal court filing this week, Arizona prosecutors say a former town marshal has provided information that proves the office is influenced by sect leaders and systematically discriminates against nonmembers. 

Former Marshal Helaman Barlow went to authorities after he was put on leave from his position. He has received immunity from prosecutors.

Fire blazing in Farmington
http://www.farmington.utah.gov/

Wednesday, the BLM and other federal agencies, along with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands are set to institute fire restrictions across southwest Utah in light of drought and worsening hot, dry conditions.

The restrictions differ slightly depending upon the jurisdiction involved, but for the most part forbid open fires, welding, smoking outdoors in most cases, the discharge of fireworks or other pyrotechnic devices and the use of exploding ammunition or targets.

The weekend proved dangerous, and in one case deadly, for motorcycling in Southern Utah.

David Wuergler, 50, of Orem was riding on SR 12 near Escalante. Officials say it appears he was traveling too fast to negotiate a curve, crossed the center line and slammed head-on into an RV headed in the opposite direction. He was killed on impact.

On Saturday, 62-year-old Daniel Shoop and his wife, 61-year-old Alice Shoop, of Sioux City, Ariz. were traveling with a group of other riders within Cedar Breaks National Monument when they hit a patch of gravel.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for portions of Washington County. Expected winds and low humidity could contribute to wildfire danger.

The alert is in effect Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for wind and low relative humidity. The area affected includes the southern half of Washington County including the areas around St. George. Nick Howell of the Bureau of Land Management suggests defensible space is a good place to start preparing for fire season.

Snow Canyon High School in St. George conducted its graduation exercises Wednesday night.  It did so without two of its graduating students.

The high school already had plans at its Wednesday graduation ceremonies to memorialize KJ Harrison, a student who died of an accidental drowning while on a scout trip last summer.

The school did not intend to recognize the absence of another graduating student, Brooks Johnson, who was killed in a rollover accident on Saturday.

Iron County and Utah BLM officials have created an agreement to round up wild horses on private land in the southern Utah county.

The BLM claimed that a lack of funding is the reason that exploding wild horse populations in Southern Utah have not been pared back to appropriate management levels.

When the agency started spending millions to round up the cattle of Nevada rancher Cliven Budy, Iron County cried hypocrisy.

The two have come to agreement on the round up of horses in certain areas. BLM specialist Chad Hunter expresses confidence in the Utah's cattlemen.

Governor Gary Herbert has appointed Cedar City attorney Keith C. Barnes to fill a judgeship in Utah's fifth district court. Barnes fills the vacancy created by Judge Michael Westfall who is moving to St. George to fill another seat, formerly occupied by Judge James Shumate.

Evan Vickers is the state Senator for Beaver, Washington and Iron counties in Utah, and is therefore the representative from the same area as Barnes.

A small earthquake shook a remote area near the Utah-Nevada border west of Cedar City.

Seismologists at the University of Utah measured the quake at 4.1 on the Richter scale. A quake of this size is considerable, but it occurred in such a remote area that there are few people who actually felt it. There are no reports of property damage.

The quake was centered about 22 miles west of Veyo, Utah and about four miles into the state of Nevada near Beaver Dam State Park.

There have been 14 aftershocks, the largest measuring 2.5 in intensity.

Arizona Dept of Transportation

The Arizona Department of Transportation has issued an update on the repairs to U.S. Hwy. 89 that was closed in February of last year after a massive landslide south of Page. Chris Holmes reports.

In a press release, ADOT maintains that the reconstruction of US-89 is on “the fast track,” but “fast" seems a relative term.  

The design and planning phase is about 60 percent complete. Environmental and archeological clearances, without which ADOT cannot receive federal funding, still lie ahead.

abandoned puppies, Cedar City
CEDAR CITY ANIMAL CONTROL

A day after St. George police arrested a man who abandoned 13 dogs, Cedar City Animal Control is investigating a case of nine puppies left in two cardboard boxes on a residential Cedar City street.

Animal control has solicited the help of local Facebook users to gather information that might lead to the arrest of the person responsible for leaving nine puppies in two cardboard boxes on a residential street.

It's believed the puppies are the same as those offered on a Facebook post in the last few weeks. Cedar City Animal Control is asking for the public's help in locating the individual who posted the offer.

Mike Lee, Senator, Utah
MIKE LEE

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said he expects the U.S. Supreme Court will rule that President Obama's controversial recess appointments from January 2012 were unconstitutional.

The constitution allows, with some limitations, for the president to make appointments if the senate is not in session. Sen. Lee insists that the recess appointments were unconstitutional because the Senate was not in recess at the time of the appointments two years ago.

"According to the Senate's own rules, according to the Senate's own journal of its proceedings, the Senate had just reconvened. It was not in recess. Therefore, the president did not have authority to name three people to the National Labor Relations Board, and a fourth person to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," Lee said.

mesquitelocalnews.com

Two Nevada skydivers are alive but seriously injured after their parachutes entangled and they struck the ground, just a few feet from a medical helicopter stationed at the Mesquite Airport.

The jumpers were attempting to land at the Mesquite airport when their parachutes tangled, causing the two to free-fall the final 20 to 30 feet to the ground. The two landed just feet from a medical helicopter whose flight crew immediately rendered aid.

flu
NPR

The southwest Utah Public Health Department has confirmed that three flu-related deaths occurred in southwest Utah during the past two weeks. All were under the age of 65.

The three deaths are the first flu deaths reported in the area for the 2013-14 flu season. By comparison, one death was reported last season for the five county area. Dave Heaton works for the Department, and said people should be vaccinated.

"The southwest Utah public health department is urging people to get vaccinated if they haven't already. This year's vaccine includes protection against H1N1 flu and is still available at your local healthcare provider or your nearest health department office," he said.

Two Nevada organizations have sued the federal government, accusing mismanagement of wild horses has led to excessive damage to rangelands and to the animals themselves.

The Nevada Farm Bureau Federation and the Nevada Association of Counties named Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Bureau of Land Management as defendants in the lawsuit filed Dec. 30 in U.S. District court.

Authorities in Beaver and Iron Counties are trying to sort through a motive and details for a high-speed chase Wednesday night.

The chase began when 40-year-old William Smith Roseberry of Plumas, Calif. left the Chevron station in Beaver without paying. A Beaver County deputy began the pursuit, and Utah Highway Patrol also became involved.

The suspect, driving a car with Connecticut license plates reached speeds higher than 100 mph before troopers ended the chase by deploying spikes north of Cedar City.

A Wednesday morning fire in St. George destroyed the Washington County Utah State University Extension building.

Rick Heflebower, county director and horticulture agent, tells UPR's Chris Holmes he and his staff were in the building this morning when they noticed lights turning off. Another staff member then spotted fire in the ceiling of one of the restrooms.

UPR's Chris Holmes reports:

There is some guarded optimism in the recent case of animal neglect out of Iron County. Authorities in Enoch City were contacted by a concerned citizen regarding a mare and her colt. Responding officers found the pair very near death from starvation and exposure.

Police Chief Jackson Ames said the colt was actually frozen to the ground in the corral when they found the animals.

"When we initially took the horse down there, the veterinarian gave the horse about a 15-20 percent chance of survival. Right now, they're a lot more optimistic," Ames said.

ADOT, Arizona Department of Transportation, construction
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

The Arizona Department of Transportation is warning drivers of Interstate-15 between St. George and Mesquite to be aware of possible delays caused by reconstruction of I-15 bridges in the Virgin River Gorge.

On Jan. 6, 2014 ADOT will begin a $2.8 million project to upgrade three bridges that cross the Virgin River. Work is expected to be completed by summer.

An even more ambitious $27 million project is scheduled to launch later this spring, to be completed in 2015. Ultimately, ADOT will need to rehabilitate all eight of the I-15 Virgin River Bridges.

Mohave County Ariz. authorities have captured an escaped fugitive out of Salt Lake County with the help of the Colorado City Marshals Office.

Misty Lee Adams, 25, was wanted out of Salt Lake County on theft, felony escape and other charges. She cut off her court-ordered ankle bracelet and has been on the run since late November.

Mohave County deputies were looking for Adams, and the Colorado City Marshals were investigating reports of a stolen vehicle at the Cane Beds Address.

At approximately noon on Saturday, St. George police responded to a robbery at the Chase Bank on Tabernacle Street.

A man handed a teller a note demanding money. There was no display of weapon and the suspect left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The suspect is described as:

  • a white male in his 50's,
  • 5'10"
  • about 185 pounds,
  • gray mustache and goatee,
  • wearing a black and gray baseball hat, black jacket and blue jeans.

A Kanarraville man was wounded Friday in an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement, and has been airlifted to a hospital in northern Utah.
 

Grant Louis Biedermann, 41, was grazed in the head when Iron County law enforcement returned fire. He was treated at Valley View Medical Center in Cedar City and released to the Iron County Jail late Friday.

But by Saturday morning, it was discovered Beidermann was suffering from a brain hemorrhage. He was airlifted to a hospital in northern Utah where his condition is unknown.

The Utah State Board of Regents selected Snow College's President Scott Wyatt to move to Southern Utah University as president on Friday.

At Wyatt's first press conference, reporters questioned Wyatt about his number one priority, on the first day of his new assignment. Wyatt in turn offered a one-word response.

"Listen," he said. "I need to meet all the members of the community and the university and the faculty and the staff and the students. My number one priority over the next weeks and months is going to be to listen."

Wyatt was an instructor for Utah State University and Bridgerland Applied Technology College in Logan, as well as a counselor for the student legal services at USU.

Earlier this year, one city in Iron County passed a 113 percent increase in the city's portion of property taxes. Although the tax has since been rescinded, ripples from the tax controversy coursed through Nov. 5 municipal elections.

Two pro-tax increase incumbents were beaten by two anti-tax increase challengers in Enoch on Election Day. New City Councilman Steve Johnson said there are still more changes that need to be made.

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