Southern Utah News Articles
Commission seeks CIB grant and discusses tobacco free zone
The Kane County Commission held three different sessions at their last meeting. A public hearing for CIB funding application for a grant/loan for the Alton Road project was led by Municipal Building Authority Chairman Jim Matson, followed with a public hearing for the above chaired by Commissioner Dirk Clayson. Clerk/Auditor Karla Johnson gave a presentation on how much money would be applied for and how much the county will receive from the state. The application will be for two million dollars.
There were positive remarks of support from Charlie Saba, Mary Craven and Gary Hodges. The motion was unanimous to support application for the CIB grant/loan.
Following the public hearings, the meeting became a work meeting where several items were discussed.
Four community volunteers were recognized for their service in the county. John Jacobs received the Governor’s Silver Bowl Award. Danika Rasmussen, Cody Beesley and Sabrina Cox each received the Presidential Service Award. The commissioners all agreed, “We cannot survive without our volunteers.”
County Fire Marshall Earl Levanger updated the commissioners on the fire status in the county. Levanger reported there were 23 fires since the last meeting and every fire had been put out. They were able to keep them small. All were lightning strikes.
Sheriff Lamont Smith, Chief Deputy Tracy Glover, and Emergency Services Director Alan Alldredge gave an update on the recent deaths and rescues in Kane County. They expressed appreciation to Shawn King and Kane County Search & Rescue for their help.
Some areas in Kane County – Paria, Buckskin and Coyote Buttes – need better radio and cell communication now that there is increased use of those areas by hikers who are making Kane County their destination. They also discussed the importance of hikers keeping fully hydrated. There have been five hyperthermia deaths this summer. The county recommendation is fewer restrictions, more signage and better cell phone service.
Harry Barber, BLM Field Office, “We want people to have fun and enjoy, and we do wonder how far to go. We are looking at putting in a tower. We want to be safe. If more signage will help, I’m for it. The BLM is working with a company to provide instructions in different languages.”
Commissioner Jim Matson told Barber, “Coordination and communication are important.”
Sheriff Smith said the husband of the woman who died recently told the Sheriff, “If only we hadn’t got lost.” They had trained for five months before their hike, and were aware of the deaths of the older couple.
Barber said the BLM is willing to transfer the land at the shooting range to Kane County. It will remain with the county as long as it is used for that purpose. If not, the land reverts back to the BLM.
The proposed Smoke Shop Ordinance 2013-6 was discussed. It prevents anyone from establishing a smoke shop in the county. It will not affect current retail stores that sell tobacco. Statistics show a 200% increase in tobacco use in the past 10 years. Currently, Kane County does not have a tobacco specialty or smoke shop.
Also in the works is a proposed tobacco-free zone for Kane County facilities. Currently, there is no smoking inside the buildings or within 25 feet. The proposal will mean no smoking anywhere on county property (like the hospital). Commissioner Clayson said, “I don’t want to push smokers onto neighbor’s properties.”
The proposal, which will be voted on at the next regular agenda meeting, will not have designated smoking areas. The purpose of the proposed smoke ordinance is to protect people from second-hand smoke. Studies have shown second-hand smoke is harmful. Smoking is outweighed by public health concerns.
The committee prepared a Power Point program on Constitutional issues. “Smoking is not a protected right of people. Smoking is not a form of speech.” The committee investigated several case studies and the rational basis for each case study is ordinances for public health and safety are upheld.
The state average for smokers is 11% – in Kane County it is 15%. On court days, the outside entrance to the courthouse is very smoky.