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 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.

We’ve seen it here in southern Utah. We’ve seen cases along the Wasatch front as recently as last week, and over the weekend another incident in Washington County. What is it? Copper theft.

Over the weekend, someone broke into the hydroelectric facility at Quail Creek and caused over one-thousand dollars in damage. Nothing was missing, but it was obvious what the individuals were after.

Cory Cram is the Assistant Director of the Washington County Water Conservancy.

Mohave county sheriff’s search and rescue units responded to a plane crash late Thursday morning, approximately 40 miles southwest of Kingman in which one person died.

Mohave county 911 dispatch received a call from a teenage boy calling from his cell phone from the site of a plane crash.  The young male said the single engine plane crashed with his father, mother and himself onboard.   

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.