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.

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.

The Utah Summer Games are underway in Cedar City after the opening ceremonies took place Thursday before a capacity crowd at Eccles Coliseum.

The 28th Annual Utah Summer Games kicked off with a bang of fireworks, a procession of hundreds of athletes and entertainment by the musical group, Recycled Percussion from America’s Got Talent Fame. The group is currently the most popular interactive show on the Las Vegas strip.

USG is the state’s largest organized athletic competition with nearly 40 Olympic-style events at venues across Southern Utah.

SyberJet Aircraft

Less than a day after the Governor’s Office of Economic Development approved a $32 million tax incentive program for MSC Aerospace, the business jet manufacturer made a dramatic announcement at a press conference Thursday in Cedar City. UPR's Chris Holmes has the details.

"MSC aerospace is a company formed when Cedar City-based Metalcraft Technologies purchased, out of bankrupcy the assets of Emivest, the former builder of the SyberJet business jet.

Company CEO David Grant wasted no time after taking to the podium, to announce what people in cedar city wanted to hear.

Southern Utah University is readying itself to take flight starting in the fall of 2013.

The Utah State Board of Regents approved a new associate of applied science degree in aerospace/aviation technology at SUU.


St. George street crews are mopping up a day after a 15-minute downpour caused mud and other debris to clock storm drains and flood city streets with nearly three feet of water in some areas.

St. George street crews had to wait for the rain to stop and water to drain away before they could work to remove mud and debris from clogged drainage grates.

Cedar City K-9 officer Pajko received his injuries during a physical confrontation with suicidal and uncooperative suspect.  The animal was taken to a specialist in Las Vegas. It was determined that Pajko suffered from a herniated disk in his neck.

The Utah Highway Patrol has arrested a New York man they say was carrying about 65 pounds of marijuana inside his motor home in eastern Utah.

Troopers pulled over the driver of a motor home for traffic and tinted window violations. Troopers say they became suspicious of the driver, 57-year-old Warren Debiew of New York.

Arizona transportation officials have approved and fast-tracked the improvement of a Navajo Nation road to act as an alternate route to US-89 closed by a landslide south of page.

Navajo route 20 runs in almost a straight line parallel with us-89.  But as Floyd Stevens, president of Copper Mine chapter, a village at the south end of N-20 tells us the road will need to be improved, particularly an unpaved 28-mile stretch.

Law enforcement in Southern Nevada has made an arrest and the investigation continues into a weekend stabbing death in Mesquite.

Mesquite police officers responded to a 911 report of an adult male who had been stabbed and was in need of medical attention.

Officers arrived on scene and discovered a 50-year-old male who was conscious but bleeding heavily from apparent knife wounds.  The victim was treated and transported to Mesa View Hospital but later died from his wounds.

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