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.

wilsonforcedarcitymayor.com

On Tuesday, Cedar City elected its youngest, and also its first woman mayor. 27-year-old Maile Wilson downplays the significance of her personal characteristics, preferring instead to talk city business. Chris Holmes reports.

Garfield County Sheriff's Office

Even as thousands of Utah deer hunters have braved the outback only to come home empty-handed, a women recently driving through Garfield County bagged her buck without even knowing it. Chris Holmes explains.

A woman called the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and reported that she had hit something while traveling on U.S. Hwy.  89.  When conservation officer Micah Evans arrived on the scene he observed a large hole through the front of the travel trailer she was pulling.

One person died and two more are in critical condition after Interstate-15 south of Cedar City was closed for two hours Sunday night as emergency personnel responed to a fatal rollover.

Just after 9 p.m., a pickup truck pulling two trailers in tandem left the northbound 1-15 lanes and overturned. The first trailer was a travel trailer, and the second was made from an old truck bed and was loaded with two 4-wheeled off-road vehicles.

All three occupants were pinned and had to be extricated from the vehicle. One passenger, 50-year-old Sara Oliver was pronounced dead on the scene. The driver, 53-year-old Mark Oliver was air lifted to a Las Vegas hospital in critical condition. 12-year-old Emma Oliver was transported by ground to a local hospital.

A Utah woman has been sentenced to 30 years in a Nevada prison in the shooting of a woman during a botched carjacking in west Wendover.

27-year-old Angela Hill of Sanpete County, Utah pleaded guilty to burglary, kidnapping and robbery in the wounding of a 36-year-old woman. The victim fought off Hill and tried to speed away, but was shot in the head and seriously injured.

Hill will remain in the Elko County Jail so she can testify in the trial of co-defendant Logan McFarland, scheduled to start in January.

Jeff Ham's piece from the quick draw competition at the Kayenta Arts Festival, 2012.
artinkayenta.org, Artist: Jeff Ham

The Kayenta Arts Festival took place this week with diverse artists gathering to present their work. 

UPR reporter Chris Holmes spoke with Gayle Bray, spokesperson for the Kayenta Arts Foundation, as she discussed how the 14 years of the festival have created many opportunities for the independent artists of southern Utah.


Garfield and other Southern Utah counties passed resolutions asking for emergency actions Monday.

The counties have petitioned Gov. Herbert to declare a local state of emergency due to the economic disturbance created by the government shutdown of national parks, monuments and recreation areas.

A 47-year-old Washington County man has been arrested on a tip that he was distributing child pornography. Dean Aoki of Dammeron Valley was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility on Saturday after authorities received a tip from a private citizen.

According to Washington County Sheriff spokesman Nate Abbott, law enforcement then obtained a search warrant and conducted an interview. The information gained was sufficient to place Aoki under arrest. He is charged with five counts of felony sexual exploitation of a minor and is being held on a $50,000 bail.

A hastily applied paint job was not enough to throw law enforcement off the trail of Jeff Green, the subject of an Arizona-issued Amber Alert.

Utah Highway Patrol troopers were looking for a green Dodge truck with Arizona tags and after a short time a white dodge truck passed which had obviously just been painted by hand.
 

License plates on the vehicle were also a match to Green's vehicle. Several officers maneuvered to contain the vehicle, but when the suspect saw officers were following, he stopped on his own.

After arguing with administrators about an issue regarding his child, a disgruntled parent stormed out of a school in Parowan muttering a threat that included possibly returning to the school with a firearm.

Director of Secondary Education in Iron County School District, Jennifer Wood said they elected to err on the side of caution, and locked down two schools.

"As a safety precaution we made a decision to lock down Parowan High School and Parowan Elementary School until that person was apprehended," Wood said.

In August a woman from Vernal was arrested for fraud for pretending her daughter had cancer. On Friday, a woman from Mesquite, Nev. was taken into custody on similar charges.

Shawnanna Star Flores, 36, is accused of falsely stating that her 7-year-old son had a rare form of liver cancer.


Flash flooding continues to occur in Southern Utah.  The latest incident, fueled by an intense thunderstorm has resulted in property damage in Garfield County.

No people or animals were harmed when an extreme thunderstorm swept through the sand wash and lime kiln area approximately five miles northeast of Panguitch Monday afternoon causing severe flooding and destruction to agricultural areas.

UPDATE:

There have been additional charges and a clarification in the case of a prostitution ring broken up in St. George last Friday.
In an initial statement from St. George police it was mistakenly reported that the juvenile involved the alleged prostitution ring had been arrested and charged.

A Cedar City man has been apprehended on sexual assault and kidnapping charges.
The victim said as she exited her vehicle she was approached by a man who took her car keys and began pulling her down the street. The victim fought back and tried to escape, but was carried away to a nearby high school.

Chris Holmes

UPR’s Southern Utah correspondent Chris Holmes has additional details on a West Jordan woman who died Monday in a rappelling accident in Kane County.

“Monday, Kane County dispatch received a call about a young female that had fallen on a rappel in Birch Hollow.  Emergency personnel arrived to confirm that the individual had died from her injuries.

19-year-old Shelby Collette Christensen of West Jordon, Utah was hiking and rappelling with three friends.  The other three had completed the descent. Christensen fell about 120 feet.

Gunfire erupted on Cedar City’s Main Street late Thursday afternoon leading to a string of incidents that started on North Main and ended in the heart of downtown at Main and Center streets.
A Cedar City police officer attempted to make a traffic stop for a motorcycle.  The driver reversed course and fled northbound on Main Street.
The pursuing officer said he then observed that the driver was in possession of a firearm.  The suspect fired the weapon several times at another motorcyclist also traveling northbound.  

One hundred years or more ago it would not have been unusual for a suspect to make his escape on horseback, but on Saturday a male suspect attempted to flee police on a stolen horse.

Saturday afternoon a Utah Highway Patrol trooper stopped a vehicle near New Harmony. Inside were two males and three females and the trooper said he could smell marijuana and took one of the females into custody.


Two California visitors died in separate Utah automobile accidents over the weekend in southern Utah.

Saturday afternoon, 70-year-old Chet Devito of Anaheim Hills, Calif. was killed when the motorcycle he was riding failed to negotiate a turn on U.S. 89 north of Kanab. There were no witnesses to the crash, Devito was found by another motorist.

Utah’s newest wildfire is burning just north of St. George.

The cinder fire has burned 100 acres near the small town of Veyo, about 20 miles north of St. George. The lightening caused blaze that was ignited Thursday in an area of pinion, juniper and brush.

Although no structures are currently threatened, the fire is zero-percent contained. Residents, fisherman and campers are standing by should evacuation orders be given.

 

Elisabeth Ann Bervel collapsed during the return trip from "the Wave," a popular and unusual rock feature in a remote area of Kane County. Her husband, Anthony Bervel continued on the trail until he could find a cell phone signal to call for help.

By the time a medical helicopter arrived from Page, Arizona, she was already in cardiac arrest. Medical personnel were unable to revive her.

The legislative committee organized to investigate Utah Attorney General John Swallow embarks upon its first full week of existence with the committee itself coming under closer examination.

Hundreds gathered in Cedar City’s Main Street Park on Saturday to remember native son Joe Thurston, one of 19 firefighters killed last month fighting an Arizona wildfire.

During the three and a half-hour meeting on Wednesday, Republican representatives instead initiated their own inquiry of Swallow who is already being investigated by other state and federal jurisdictions.

The historic Marble Canyon Lodge and restaurant in northern Arizona was destroyed by fire Wednesday morning. UPR’s Chris Holmes reports.

"Coconino County sheriff's officials say the fire was reported about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Flames and smoke were seen coming from the rear of the structure when fire crews arrived.

Sheriff's deputies, detectives and flagstaff fire department investigators are on scene trying to determine the cause of the fire.

Halfway through the month of June and a full week before the official first day of summer, fire officials in Southern Utah are implementing fire restrictions. UPR’s Chris Holmes has the details.

In light of lower-than-normal precipitation this past winter, continued higher-than-normal temperatures and persistent winds, officials from the Color Country Interagency Fire Management Area are implementing fire restrictions within the jurisdiction.

The summer fire season is underway.  Three wildfires are burning in central and southeastern Utah, with other smaller brush fires are popping up all over the state.

Dry and windy conditions around much of the state have kept fire officials vigilant.  The national weather service issued a red-flag warning for much of southwest and south-central Utah over the weekend.

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