2008 was a year for southern Utah and northern Arizona, much like what most every part of the country experienced- a tumultuous time! It featured a moderate housing market and economy for the first part of the year, but when the big banks and auto industries were failing, and the Federal government (meaning us), were called to bail them out, most everyone began to get nervous. Subsequent lay-off and reduction of expenditures, demonstrated that people were understanding the brevity of the recession. The general election while historically electing our first black president, offered us some hope for change most everyone understood, it was time to knuckle down, cut back on out-of-control spending, and get back to the basics of putting food on the table and a roof over their heads.

These were the top stories in 2008-

September-

    Administrative changes occur at Best Friends Animal Society. Best Friends founder Michael Mountain and long-associate Steven Hirano, were reassigned from positions of importance in day to day operations to other duties. “The organization here has begun the transition from what was to a different leadership team,” said Best Friends’ media rep John Polis.

Kanab City Mayor Kim Lawson and city council members were on hand to check out the new city fire truck before their regularly-scheduled meeting.

A flash flood inundated a remote slot canyon, resulting in the loss of a California couple’s lives, and leaving six people grateful to have their lives spared. Kathy Chapple and husband Gordon Chapple, both 60, Calnut Creek, CA were hiking in the Egypt trailhead area with their son Chris, daughter Katie, 30 year-old Liz Fries and 33 year-old Tom Schrupp and two Wayne County guides when the flash flood hit. Within two to three minutes, the flash flood had pushed the group down the canyon. The two guides, the couple’s son and duaghter and the other two hikers, were able to eddy out. The Chapples became separated from the groupand were swept away by floodwaters.

Vandalism struck the Fredonia area. Authorities had to deal with many incidences of vandalism after a September spree that left damage on public as well as private property. The Town of Fredonia is offering a $250 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved with the recent destruction.

October-

    Kane County Assessor Richard Swapp tendered his resignation, effective December 31,2008. Swapp’s departure creates a mid term vacancy of two years.

National Public Lands Day a success. More than 100 volunteers and over fifteen BLM employees from the GSENM and the Kanab field office, armed with trash bags and gloves, spread out around Kane County to tackle several National Public Lands Day improvement projects.

Utah Highway Patrol trooper Russ Whitaker and drug dog Justice assisted trooper Nick Berrie, who had stopped a Durango for driving left of center. A search of the vehicle found 17 bags of compressed marijuana with a total of 188 pounds confiscated. Dagoberto Anzueta-Hilerio and Jesus Jurado-Palma were arrested. The street value of the marijuana is estimated to be approximately $300,000.

Luke Rogers, 19, Seattle. His body was recovered in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Park last week. He had been standing on the bow of a runabout boat when he fell over apparently receiving head injuries.

November-

    United Church consecrates new building. Reverend Doug Lathrop consecrated the new worship center for the United Church of Kanab and Fredonia. Lathrop said it was fitting to dedicate the new church building on All Saints Day, since so many saints of different beliefs had been involved in building the church.

    The Taxpayers Association presented their mandate for no county tax increase in 2009 to the Kane County Commission. The TPA asked that the county: cut expenses, rely on new growth property taxes and new businesses; re-evaluate public health; invest money in developing local economy; give fair wages to elected officials; rebuild the county operating fund; and place the financial welfare of local business and families first.

    The general election in Kane County held few surprises. John McCain won here, but president-elect Barack Obama took the nation.

    Dixie State College and CEBA are teaming up to produce a documentary about southern Utah’s movie history. The “Return to Little Hollywood” chronicles Kanab’s evolution from a remote cattle town into one of the entertainments industry’s busiest production destinations.

    Mesa Hills is a 47 lot residential development by Color Country Community Housing, located on Kanab’s east side. It is the mix of market rate lots, affordable lots and mutual self-help lots.  There are currently six homes under construction. Buyers in the program begin construction at the same time and help wwith each other’s homes. Each buyer is required to put in 30 hours a week, and no one moves in until all six homes are complete. The first group of six homes should be completed in February 2009.

December-

    Craig Forster, 55, Salt Lake, fell to his death while hiking in Zion National Park on November 28. Forster, a hydrogeologist, headed the Office of Sustainabity at the University of Utah.

    The thirteen member Ad Hoc Budget Committee seated at the pleasure of the Kane County Commission to review and make recommendations on the county budget, have apparently met with ‘displeasure ‘ and have been released from duty.

    The new Southwest Behavioral Health Center broke ground for their new building behind Kane County Hospital.

    The annual Symphony of the Canyons and music students’ holiday festival was well-attended and a great success, from the lighted holiday parade on Thursday, to the wonderful dinner/concert on December 4, to Saturday’s joyous daytime festival.

    One of Michael Vick’s former fighting dog’s Georgia, accompanied by Best Friends trainer John Garcia of Fredonia, were featured nationwide on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

    An estimated 20 boats burned at the Hall’s Crossing Marina.