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 settlement has been reached in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Brian Cardall who died in 2009 after a Hurricane City police officer shocked him with a taser.

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, the parties entered into a “mutual general settlement agreement and release of all claims” in the suit over the death of Cardall, a Utah native who was at the time a graduate student at Northern Arizona University. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The Mohave County Sheriff's Office in Arizona has issued a plea to the public for information regarding the theft of dozens of steel storm drain covers.

The thefts occurred in the Shadow Mountain subdivision just across the state line from Mesquite, Nevada and south of Beaver Dam, Arizona -- some 30 miles southwest of St. George.

75 large steel grates have disappeared. The grates sit in a larger frame set in concrete curbs and cover the intakes of the area's storm drains.

I-15 in Southern Utah is finally back to normal after closures in both directions most of Wednesday morning.

At around 3:00 a.m. a tanker truck filled with fuel overturned on Interstate 15 near mile marker 40, about 20 miles south of Cedar City.

Both lanes of southbound traffic were halted as responders dealt with the volatile situation. Southbound motorists were directed through Enterprise and on to St. George to rejoin the interstate.

A massive land slide in October 2011 closed SR-14 east of Cedar City for almost a year. Now, more slide activity is reported on the important connector between I-15 and US-89.

Utah Department of Transportation's Kevin Kitchen reports that late Monday evening a rockfall occurred at milepost 7.5 -- the same section that had to be completely reconstructed after the landslide in October 2011.

Crews were able to clear most of the debris, opening the road to traffic in both directions, but 2 rocks were so large they could not be moved even with heavy equipment.

A Utah prison inmate facing death in the 1988 torture slaying of a southern Utah state college theater student is appealing to the federal courts to spare him from execution.

Michael Anthony Archuleta's attorneys cite 16 grounds for appeal in a document filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

Archuleta won a reprieve just days before facing a firing squad in April.

It's only a matter of time before the state legislature grants university status to Dixie State College of Utah -- perhaps as soon as the next legislative session in January.

College administrators, along with a St. George public relations firm are putting out feelers as to how the new institution should be branded, including whether or not to keep "Dixie" in the school's name.

The Saudi Arabian government has stopped recommending Southern Utah University's English as a Second Language program to Saudi Students it sends abroad to study.

The Saudi Arabia cultural mission likes its students to study English in ESL programs comprised of no more than 35% Saudi students. Its thought is that doing so maximizes the educational and cultural experience.

The search is over for a missing single-engine plane that disappeared after refueling in Fillmore, Utah, more than one week ago.

37-year-old pilot Matt Ahrens, his girlfriend 34-year-old Trista Meyer, and Trista's 9-year-old daughter Shyann Lenz, were returning to Gillette, Wyoming, from Bakersfield, California, after the Thanksgiving holiday when they stopped to refuel in Fillmore.

When the aircraft failed to arrive at its destination, family members alerted authorities and the search, by both air and ground, ensued.

St. George police responded last week on a report of counterfeit money. The victim sold a motorcycle to the suspect and was paid with counterfeit $100 bills.

The suspect is described as a white male, 5' 7" tall, slender build, dark hair, and between the ages of 25 - 35 years old. He was driving an 80s model full-size blue van with a spare tire mounted on the back door. The name "Rambo" is written in red lettering across the front hood.

The Utah Shakespeare Festival has announced its largest gift in the theater company's history. The $5 million gift from the Engelstad Family Foundation of Las Vegas will go toward the proposed construction of a new theater.

Festival executive director R. Scott Phillips says the gift puts the project closer to groundbreaking by the end of 2013. Funding for the proposed $25.5 million facility now sits at about $24 million.

Sponsoring representative Patrick Painter of Nephi warns that the day will come with Utah will wish it did otherwise. Notwithstanding, fellow lawmakers shot down Painter's proposal to help fund a Lake Powell to St. George water pipeline by earmarking a portion of state sales taxes.

Under Painter's proposal, the state would set aside a portion of state sales tax to help pay for the $1 billion project. Water users would then repay the state for the loan.

Today on Access Utah is a rebroadcast of Wednesday night's House 2nd Congressional District debate on the Southern Utah University campus, in conjunction with the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service. UPR Southern Utah Correspondent Chris Holmes moderates with Eric Kirby, Director of the Leavitt Center.   

 The candidates include: 

During the Great Recession Utah's institutions of higher learning generally saw significant increases as out-of-work individuals flocked to college campuses, and as students, unable to secure employment, decided to remain in school.

Southern Utah University was the exception, where enrollment dropped during the economic downturn, presumably as parents elected to save housing expenses by sending their students to commuter schools closer to home.

Iron County Sheriffs Office

Using fingerprints and photos taken by motion activated wildlife cameras, authorities identified Troy James Knapp, a 45-year-old burglary fugitive from California, as the man responsible for a string of mountain cabin burglaries in southern Utah.

Kane County filed charges against Knapp earlier this year. Now Iron County has issued charges of its own, including four felony counts of burglary.

NPS

Rangers in Grand Canyon National Park are searching for 76-year-old Yoshikazu Yamada, a Japanese national who was last seen waiting to get on a commercial tour bus near Bright Angel Lodge nearly a week ago.

Yamada had been traveling with a companion and failed to board the bus Saturday afternoon. His companion reported him missing.

Mr. Yamada is 5'6" tall, weights 150 lbs, and has grey hair, brown eyes and wears glasses. He was last seen wearing a grey short sleeve button down short, light brown photography vest, black tennis shoes, and a brown sun hat.

It was a tumultuous and even deadly fire season throughout the state and it appears that Utah can add one more wildfire to the tally.

According to officials from the Color Country Interagency Fire management team, the Roundabout Fire has burned over 2,400 acres between Cedar City and Minersville.

The fire continues to grow in an area characterized by pinion, juniper, and grasses. As of Tuesday evening the fire was only 20% contained.

Nearly a year after a massive landslide closed SR-14 east of Cedar City, construction on the Restore 14 Project is complete. State Route 14 will continue to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

UDOT announced that that Wednesday, September 26, would mark the final day of construction, although workers are still clearing equipment from the area and mopping up the operation.

On October 8 of last year a major landslide wiped out a 1,000-foot plus section of the critical connector between Interstate 15 and US Highway 89.

A former Parowan police chief intends to sue the city claiming he was forced into retirement in 2011.

Preston Griffiths served as Parowan's chief of police for over 20 years. His sudden retirement came when Griffiths was charged with obstruction of justice and official misconduct after he shot and killed a Parowan resident's dog.

Griffiths initially denied shooting the dog, but later admitted to it.

In the notice of the claim, Griffiths says he shot the dog only after the dog attacked him. He does not give a reason for initially lying about the incident.

Jennifer Pemberton

The number of deaths at Grand Canyon National Park are down sharply in 2012. As the summer season wraps up, 8 people have died this year, compared with 21 last year - the highest figure in a decade.

The 10-year average is 13 deaths per year. Although the park sees some suicides each year, most deaths are accidental including falls, drownings, and heatstroke.

Dr. Tom Myers worked full time at the Grand Canyon clinic for 22 years. He says 90% of the deaths result from people "who overestimate their own ability and underestimate the canyon."

The Science Center at Southern Utah University, which opened last fall, was recently identified by LEED (the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Program) as one of superior design, construction, and performance with respect to green and environmentally-conscious objectives.

A unique feature of the center is its green roof where a greenhouse hosts many different kinds of plants. These capture rain water, reducing wasteful water runoff and help to keep the building cool.

Southern Utah residents woke to an odd sighting in the eastern sky, but the source was actually over New Mexico and was visible throughout the American southwest.

To many southern Utah residents the odd, meteor-like flash, which left a corkscrew-shaped contrail, appeared to have contacted the ground very nearby, but according to Army Public Affairs it was actually a Pac-3 missile test at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

There have been 14 such tests at the New Mexico site since the early 1990s.

The weather forecast in Southern Utah calls for clearing skies. That's good news for folks in a community west of St. George.

About 30 homes and over a dozen businesses are cleaning up water, mud, and debris after the breach of a dike for retention pond in Santa Clara on Tuesday.

The pond was already filled to its brim with recent rainfall, softening the earthen structure. On Tuesday another downpour proved too much for the dike, sending a wall of water down Canyon View Drive.

Cedar High School in Cedar City was on lock down for the better part of Wednesday after school officials found a suspicious item near the school’s entrance.

A sustained thunder storm on Friday dumped 2 inches of rain in about 20 minutes on central Iron County, overwhelming city streets and resulting in flooded basements in some 80 homes in the town of Enoch.

Arizona's Prop 204, "The Quality Education and Jobs" Initiative, calls for the renewal of a $0.01 sales tax set to expire in 2013. The tax would provide a dedicated permanent revenue stream for education that the legislature cannot cut.

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