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.

A Mohave County, Ariz. man called the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office for help, but the visit by deputies resulted in the man’s own arrest.

Deputies responded to a residence in Golden Valley in reference to shots fired.  51-year-old david brawner reported several people outside of his residence trying to shoot him.  Brawner said he also returned fire.

Transportation officials in Arizona are scrambling to find alternatives after US 89 was closed due to a landslide in February.

The Arizona State Transportation Board is considering whether to temporarily designate a 45 mile long Navajo tribal road as a state highway and improve it so it can be used as an alternate to a closed stretch of US 89 south of Page.

The design phase of the project would cost $1 million.

US 89 has been closed north of Bitter Springs and south of Page since February 20 because of a landslide that buckled part of the highway on a hillside.

Southern Utah University has received a $6 million gift from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation to create a multi-million dollar arts center on the campus of SUU.

In partnership with the Utah Shakespeare festival, the new center will further establish SUU as a regional center for the arts.

Southern Utah University President, Dr. Michael T. Benson, is one of three finalists to become the next president of Eastern Kentucky University.

Michael Benson has been president of SUU since 2006.  Benson has made a name for himself in the Utah higher education system for his personable approach and his proven ability to fund raise.

“The future is rising,” is a comprehensive campaign to raise 100 million dollars at SUU.  Now in its third year, the campaign has already raised 85 million.

A man is in custody in Beaver County after a two-hour standoff with a Beaver County swat team on Sunday.

Beaver County sheriff deputies were dispatched to an apartment in Milford by witness reports that 24-year-old Samuel Weiss assaulted another man, threatened to kill him, and brandished a gun. 

When deputies arrived and attempted to talk to Weiss, he ran inside his own apartment and refused to respond to officers.

After two-hours of negotiations, a Beaver County swat team used tear gas and made entry into the apartment.

A former Garfield County Public Defender was sentenced to 90 days in jail for getting indigent clients to pay him even though he'd already been compensated by the state.

Sixth District Judge James Taylor on Friday also ordered John Hummel to perform 50 hours of community service and to pay restitution to victims.

A jury in February convicted the 54-year-old Hummel on four felony counts of theft by extortion and one felony count of attempted theft by extortion.

A dangerous situation at a St. George motel was averted Thursday night thanks to the heads up play on the part of a high school baseball player from Spanish Fork.

Jade Nielson and his team mates from the Spanish Fork High baseball team are staying in the Quality Inn on South Bluff Street in St. George for a weekend baseball tournament. 

Jade was returning to his parent’s room to his own when he smelled smoke in an unoccupied room belonging to team mates.

Rob Nielson is Jade’s father.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has declared an emergency in the case of the recent collapse of US highway 89 south of Page.

The declaration will assist the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) in seeking reimbursement from the Federal Highway Administration for necessary repairs to the roadway.

The collapse occurred on February 20. As a result, ADOT has closed the highway indefinitely northbound and southbound at milepost 526, between Page and U.S. Route 89a.

Before the Arizona department of transportation can move forward with a design to repair the damaged section of US 89 south of Page, the agency needs to determine the mountain slope has stabilized.

ADOT received environmental clearance and geotechnical engineers began drilling shafts to deploy equipment called inclinometers beneath the ground surface. These plastic pipes will measure slope movement at a specific location.

A rollover accident near Toquerville, in southern Utah shut down the southbound lanes of interstate 15 Sunday afternoon.

The single-car rollover happened around 4:30 Sunday afternoon.  A 25-year-old St. George woman traveling southbound apparently overcorrected, rolling her vehicle.  The woman was traveling alone.

The victim, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle. 

An afternoon bank robbery in Cedar City not only put police on alert for the suspect, but also led to the lockdown of a nearby middle school.

At approximately 1:30 pm, an older white male entered the Mountain American Credit Union and handed the teller a note demanding money. The suspect received an undisclosed amount of cash and left the building.

A stretch of U.S. highway 89 in northern Arizona is closed in both directions because of a pavement problem about 25 miles south of Page.

The Arizona department of transportation says traffic will detour around the closure by using U.S. 89a and other U.S. and local highways.

ADOT says what caused a 150-foot section of pavement to buckle shortly after 5:30 a.m. is not related to the weather and might be what the department calls a "geologic event."

Lawmakers have approved Dixie State College's bid to become a university and stick with its traditional name despite concerns about racial insensitivity.

The Utah State Senate approved the measure Wednesday morning on a 26-0 vote. The house approved a bill earlier 68-6.

Last month the Utah Board of Regents also approved the name change and university status.

Hurricane high school in Washington County was evacuated Tuesday after a construction crew working on the schools new addition ruptured a three inch natural gas line.

At approximately 11:45 a.m. parents received a text message from hurricane high school indicating that due to the emergency students were being dismissed to return home.

The Utah attorney general’s office has filed criminal charges against the chief of police and the town manager of Springdale, Utah alleging the pair conspired to redirect tens-of-thousands of dollars of traffic fines to city coffers instead of the local justice court.

Town manager Richard Wixom and police chief Kurt Wright are charged with one count each of failure to keep and pay over public money—a third-degree felony.

The shaking continues in Iron County where a series of small earthquakes has rattled windows frames and cupboards.

Iron County has experienced ten measurable earthquakes in the last 24 hours, the smallest have registered from 1.4 to 2.8, and the largest quakes from 3.1, to 3.5 to 3.7 on the Richter scale.

According to the University of Utah Seismic Station, all of the tremblers have been centered in the same location, about seven miles northwest of Cedar City and five miles west of the town of Enoch.

Three people remain hospitalized following a high speed chase that began in Arizona and ended in Utah after a driver may have tried to purposely cause a head-on collision.

Arizona troopers attempted to stop a motorist on northbound I-15, but the vehicle failed to stop.  The pursuit reached speeds of 115 miles per hour through the Virgin River Gorge.

Cedar City Quakes

Feb 8, 2013

Shortly after noon Thursday, the Cedar City area was shaken by a series of small earth quakes.

A series of five small earth quakes has shaken iron county.  The first registering 2.7 on the Richter scale occurred just before noon Thursday, followed by a 2.0 shake.

About 30 minutes later a slightly stronger 3.1 quake occurred, and the strongest quake of the day, measuring a 3.5 magnitude occurred at around 1:00.

Two smaller aftershocks of 2.0 and 2.7 also shook the area.

Southern Utah University is in its first year as a member of the Big Sky Conference, and already University President Dr. Michael Taft Benson suggests the benefits of Big Sky membership extend well beyond athletics.
At the Monday Thunderbird club coaches luncheon Benson told athletic boosters that the university’s academic and other non-athletic departments have met counterparts from other big sky schools and benefited greatly from the exchanges—most recently SUU’s alumni association.

Police in both Southern Utah and Southern Nevada have seen an increase in vehicle burglaries as of late.  While Utah authorities are still on the look-out, it appears that police in Mesquite, Nevada have a suspect.

30-year-old Mario Gaxiola of Las Vegas was caught in the act and detained by private citizens until Mesquite police arrived to make the arrest.  Gaxiola was booked on three counts of auto burglary and other charges.  

suspect sketch kanarraville utah
Cedar City Police Department

Law enforcement in Southern Utah is still on the lookout for a suspect in the aggravated robbery and sexual assault of the woman near Kanarraville.

The incident occurred on Thursday afternoon. The female victim was showing a male subject a building lot in a remote mountain subdivision south of cedar city when she was suddenly attacked.

A Utah district court judge has extended a custody order for a former member of the FLDS church who is seeking custody of his estranged children.
Lorin Holm was married to three women and is father to eight children.  In 2011 Holm was expelled from the FLDS church by leader Warren Jeffs for unspecified reasons.

Thereafter, his wives and children were assigned by church leadership to other men.  But Holm has reconciled with his first wife, to whom he is lawfully married, and has sought custody of his children.

Utah regents have approved Dixie State College's years-long drive to become a university and are sticking with the school's traditional name despite some concerns expressed about racial insensitivity.

The regents voted Friday to adopt the new name of Dixie state university. The decision is subject to approval by the Utah Legislature and by Gov. Gary Herbert, who has indicated his support.

Dixie State College announced Friday the creation of a new minority student scholarship endowment during the Utah State Board of Regents meeting held on the college’s campus.
Even as board of regents member Rev. France Davis placed one of two dissenting votes against university status and retention of the name “Dixie,” the college’s board of trustees announced the formation of a new scholarship for minority students.

A $20,000 anonymous donation was received to establish the new scholarship endowment, which will be named in honor of the Rev. Davis.

Interstate 15 passes only through a 29-mile stretch of the extreme northwest corner of Arizona.  But for two Salt Lake County men that proved to be a couple of miles too many.

21-year-old Andrew Rockman of Salt Lake City, and 20-year-old Cole Troy Mannos from Murray were travelling northbound on I-15 just one mile short of the Utah-Arizona border when pulled over by Mohave County sheriff’s deputies.