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 single-engine plane crash over the Memorial Day weekend claimed the live of 4 young men in their 20s. There were no eyewitnesses to the crash, nor were there any airport personnel on duty.

The crash occurred around 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning, but was not discovered until St. George Municipal Airport workers arrived at 6:00 a.m. The Cessna 172 went down 300 feet south of the airport runway. It is not known whether the plan crashed upon take-off or landing.

Life is just getting back to normal in the small Southern Utah town of Kanarraville -- population 355 -- after it hosted upwards of 15,000 people for Sunday's annular solar eclipse.

The small Iron County town sits right in the heart of the annular path, called the "sweet spot", guaranteeing a perfect Ring of Fire for 4 minutes on Sunday night.

Photo courtesy of nps.gov

A new museum collection at Zion National Park chronicles the contributions of the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Pictures, writings, and special objects in the collection provide opportunities for visitors to gain first-hand knowledge of the work and lives of the men of the CCC.

During their 9 years working in Zion, they built and improved many of the park's trails, created parking areas, fought fires, eradicated invasive plants, help build campgrounds, built park buildings, and reduced flooding on the Virgin River.

Photo by Mike Keller on 1-15-09, courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

A new study employing the cooperation of BYU and Utah State University researchers and state biologists proposes to answer the question just how many mule deer fawns each year are lost to coyotes.

http://www.nps.gov/brca/naturescience/upd.htm

A Wall Street Journal article published today introduces an issue Southern Utahns have dealt with for 40 years to a national audience. The article documents the trouble some Utahns have experienced ever since the Utah prairie dog landed on the endangered species list.

Friday May 4, Southern Utah University conducts its 113th annual commencement. Every graduating class, of course, has its valedictorian, the SUU class of 2012 is no exception, but its valedictorian is…  exceptional in every sense of the word.

Gwen Knight graduates with a degree in psychology, having maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout her academic career at SUU. And that while working fulltime as directing case coordinator with the Utah court-appointed special advocate program and juggling her duties as a mother of 11 and grandmother of 22.

For the second time in two days a human-caused wildfire has erupted in southern Utah—this time just west of St. George in an area called Anasazi valley.

The fire is on mostly public land west of St. George, and south of old Highway 91.

The fire started on Wednesday around 3:30 in the afternoon. Like the Toquerville fire there is not threat to structures. The Anasazi valley fire has not yet been mapped for its size.

Utah's Washington County has joined Mohave County, Arizona and other Uranium mining concerns in filing a lawsuit against the Federal Government.

The lawsuit is directed against Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, the Department of Interior, the BLM and BLM Director Robert Abbey.

It calls for the reversal of Salazar's 20-year ban on new mining claims in one-million acres of public land adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park, announced in January.

Three St. George high school students have been arrested and charged with kidnapping. UPR's Chris Holmes tells us that the serious charges in this case are hardly typical for juvenile arrests.

The victim, a middle school-aged girl, was jogging on Monday evening when cut off by a pick-up truck. Three masked boys emerged and forced her into the bed of the truck, closing the bed lid and locking her inside.

Administrators at Hurricane High School in Washington County initiated the familiar call to evacuate the school and gather outside in the predetermined places for an accounting, but this time it was not a drill.

Early Monday morning, a teacher noticed smoke coming from the the school's wood shop room. He alerted authorities and the school was evacuated. The fire occurred in the shop's dust ventilation system, and although some smoke and water damage resulted, the small shop is in a building separate from the rest of the school, so the damage and potential threat was very limited.

Last week 59-year-old Victoria Grover from Maine parked her rented car on Hell's Backbone Road in remote Southern Utah and set out for a day hike to Sand Creek and back. But when sunset came she was nowhere near her car.

On Wednesday she broke her leg while moving through the rugged terrain and spent the next 4 days and nights stranded in the wilderness.

The Arizona state transportation board has awarded an $11.5 million contract to repave a section of interstate highway that most Arizonans will never travel.

I-15 passes through just 29 miles of the extreme northwest corner of Arizona, cut off from the rest of the state by the Grand Canyon. But the rugged terrain and the frequent criss-crossing of the Virgin River made it the nation’s most expensive stretch of highway per mile to build.

33-year-old Matt Lewis of Ivins died Saturday after the non-motorized paraglider he was piloting crashed about 5 miles south of the Utah-Arizona line. Authorities from the Arizona Highway Patrol and Mohave County Search and Rescue responded to the remote crash scene using an AHP helicopter. The scene was not accessible by roads.

A recent warning by Animal Control officials in Mesquite, Nevada, has dog owners in Southern Utah and Nevada on the lookout for signs of the very dangerous, even fatal, canine parovirus.

Wendell Loy Nielson has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine for each of his 3 counts of bigamy -- the maximum penalty under Texas law. While his defense lawyers argued that Nielson was not guilty of bigamy because his extra relationships were not legal marriages, the jury disagreed. Nielson is also alleged to have conducted ceremonies, marrying girls 12- and 16-years-old to Warren Jeffs. He has allegedly been involved in the marriages of 37 girls of that age.  

St. George based Skywest Airlines is among 33 Utah employers commended by the Department of Defense for their support of National Guard Personnel and military reservists under their employ. These companies are in a nationwide running for the "Freedom Award," given to 15 employers later this summer.

The DOD explains:

More passengers are flying Utah-based Skywest Inc. The company reports an increase in ridership for both its St. George-based Skywest Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines based in Atlanta. Chris Holmes has the numbers.

Personnel from the Washington County Search and Rescue Team responded to a call from a hiker with a broken leg stranded in the rugged red rock terrain near St. George. UPR's Southern Utah correspondent Chris Holmes reports on a difficult rescue.

Idaho State would neither confirm nor deny whether former Southern Utah University Coach Bill Evans will become the new Idaho State Coach. Evans had 209 career victories in his 15 seasons at SUU, but in 2007 his contract was not renewed. Chris Holmes has the story.  

Environmental groups told the Utah Supreme Court state regulators granted approval to Alton Coal Development

to operate a coal mine near Bryce Canyon without thinking of the environmental impact the operation would have. Alton Coal spokespeople say they have complied with the law. Chris Holmes has the story. 

It sounds almost as if a St. George defense attorney is actually working to keep his client in jail as the court waits for a required mental assessment. Chris Holmes reports from Southern Utah.

It's called the Overseer, a large rock outcropping with a mouth that appears in the fall to swallow the sun and in the spring to spit it back out, an event that the public is invited to celebrate this year on March 3 at 7:30 a.m. Chris Holmes describes the event.

More information on the Overseer and the rocks at Parowan Gap.

 

On or shortly before February 20, two animals were shot with a small caliber weapon near Modena, Utah. The cattle owner reported the crime to Iron County law enforcement, who are offering $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Please contact the Iron County Sheriff if you can help.

H.B. 174 would earmark 15 percent of future sales and use taxes be used to help fund water resource projects, including the Lake Powell to St. George pipeline. 

The League of Women Voters wrote a letter to legislators, urging them to reject the bill. Chris Holmes has the story.

A judge in St. George has granted a father the right to visit his children, from whom he has been estranged since FLDS Church leader Warren Jeffs reassigned them to other families. Chris Holmes reports from Southern Utah.

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