2015 was an exciting year for Kane County. It was one of real growth, with good neighbor Best Friends Animal Society expanding more into the community, two large new motels being built, a new pharmacy and soda fountain opened, two new restaurants added, and more building permits issued than ever before! Kane County’s Visitor Center and Volunteer Centers have made enormous strides in not only attracting visitors, but organizing great events for both travelers and local residents alike.

But as with most community changes, there have been differences of opinion and bumps along the way! All in all, southern Utah’s future looks bright. This is the first of a three part series recapping events of the past 12 months. 


Newly-elected Kane County officials were sworn into public office on January 5 by Judge Kirk Heaton. Kane County Commissioners Jim Matson and Dirk Clayson; Kane County Attorney Rob Van Dyke; Kane County Sheriff Tracy Glover; Kane County Recorder VerJean Caruso; Kane County Assessor Linda Little; Kane County Treasurer Georgia Baca; and Kane County Clerk/Auditor Karla Johnson.   

Kanab resident Deanna Glover was honored as a “Modern Day Pioneer” by the local chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers. 

Optimism over Kane County’s economic future was a common theme at the 7th Annual Kane County Business Summit held January 16 at Stampin’ Up! “We need to realize, it’s our turn,” said Kane County Economic Director Matt Brown, emphasizing the conference theme. “Many (business-entrepreneurs) are reticent to go first.”

Mayor Robert Houston read a proclamation before Kanab City Librarian Dickie Robinson at the January 13 Kanab City Council meeting proclaiming 2015 the 100 year anniversary of the Kanab City Library. The library first opened on September 12, 1915.

A grave mistake. While the headstone has had a resting place between the old Chef’s Palace on Center Street and the former Mosdell Mortuary building at 30 North 200 West in Kanab for nearly 40 years, it doesn’t diminish the mystery surrounding the man’s name etched into the granite. A headstone for an Ernest Donald Briggs, Navy, World War II, 1930-1976, was uncovered during the demolition of the old Chef’s Palace building. Most authorities believe that it most likely was just a faulty discarded headstone.

Developed by Salt Lake City-based advertising agency Love Communications, the new Kanab branding campaign-distinguished by a new logo and graphic treatment-will be highlighted by the tagline, ‘Magically Unspoiled,’ which celebrates the undiscovered quality of the area for visitors around the globe. One headline the office of tourism is planning to use on print ads and billboards stands out in particular; ‘Abra Kanabra.’

Car ‘Price is Right’ for Swapp! The price of the 2015 Dodge Dart was right for Marianne Swapp of Kanab...it was free! Swapp was the grand prize winner of the car when she was a contestant November 10, 2014, on the ‘Price is Right’ game show.

Grazing fees to increase. The federal grazing fee for 2015 will be $1.69 per animal unit month (AUM) as compared to $1.35 per AUM in 2014.


Noel makes Utah lands his top priority. (Written by BYU intern Maren McInnes, Capital West News, for the Southern Utah News.) Since his first term in 2003, Representative Mike Noel, R-Kanab, has sponsored perhaps a hundred bills, and over 70 have passed. Traditionally, his focus has been on bills concerning natural resources, energy development, and open road access. In recent years, however, Noel’s focus has turned toward land management, and ensuring that the State of Utah, rather than the federal government, manages Utah land. 

Kane County is excited to join forces with former Kanab resident, Bryan Hill to bring a hot air balloon festival to Kanab. He is the Balloonmeister, or Air Boss, of the new Kanab Balloons and Tunes Roundup. Hill currently lives in Page, AZ, where he is the general manager for the local electric utility. 

Lisa Eckert named Superintendent of Bryce Canyon National Park, effective March 2015. 

Planning and Zoning deals with color and parking issues. The issues motivating over three dozen citizens to attend the Kanab Planning Commission’s meeting involved the review of site approval plans for the new Comfort Suites and Hampton Inn motels scheduled to be built this year. 

Senator Ralph Okerland is the Senate Majority Leader in the Utah State Legislature. He has been representing District 24 since 2009, a mostly rural district that comprises all or part of eight counties; Beaver, Garfield, Juab, Kane, Millard, Piute, Sanpete, Sevier, Utah and Wayne. 

Tony Wright, ATV Club, presented a plan for a new ATV/pedestrian bridge across Kanab Creek north of the dam. The proposed bridge will span 60 feet across by six feet wide, and connect with Hog Canyon. 

Kanab City Council clears way for new Hampton Inn. People attended the Kanab City Council meeting expressing frustration over what they feel is the city rushing to generate business and subsequently creating more problems. “Bending over backwards for new development is not always worth it,” said one frustrated audience member. 

“We’re stepping back from the soul of Kanab, which we’ve always had,” said Alan Gilberg. “We are burying that soul with the concessions we make to the Hampton Inn and we don’t have to.”

After springtime-like weather for most of February in southern Utah, we were brought back to reality with a snowstorm last weekend. Over nine inches of the white stuff fell in Kanab, with even more in the Valley. 


Kanab’s First Annual Balloons and Tunes Roundup was a big hit with everyone, even though the weather did not cooperate. Nineteen balloons took off from Coral Cliffs Golf Course, with most of them landing at the Kanab Airport. 

The Kanab Cowgirls basketball team finished second at the 2A State Tournament. They fell to Delta in the championship game, 45-37, to claim the silver trophy. The ‘Girls finished the season with a 21-3 record, the best record in many years.

Southern Utah News owners Dixie and Dennis Brunner received the Master Editor and Publisher Award at the Utah Press Association’s annual convention in St. George last weekend. It was the first time in the association’s history that a husband and wife team were honored. 

Susan Honey was honored with the prestigious Womanhood Award at the 2015 Kanab Women’s Forum. 

The Canyons Collection will be opening a breathtaking newly designed restaurant at the Canyons Boutique Hotel, and an upcoming new bistro space at the Flagstone Studios. They’ve announced the appointment of Shon Foster as its new executive chef. The owner management team of Matt Walters and Travis Mitchell bring years of professional work experience in the hospitality industry to the now five Kanab accommodation properties. 


A Canyon People’s Portrait performed at the Kanab High School was educational, entertaining and extremely well-attended! Clive Romney was the inspiration behind the project. Merrill Jenson, a composer with major motion picture film credits, conducted Kanab’s Symphony of the Canyons in the world premiere of a symphonic suite composed to honor its 30th anniversary.

A French couple driving in a remote area near the Paria River east of Kanab last week certainly got more than scenery while visiting. They drove by a prone man not far from the bank, who appeared to be in trouble, with blood around him. They honked at him, but got no response. They then sought assistance from another nearby tourist couple, Gary and Judy Doran. The Dorans, (Judy a nurse), went to check on the gentleman, but found him deceased from a gunshot would to the head. The deceased man was identified as Craig Miller, of Golden, Colorado. 

Kane County’s newly-elected Sheriff Tracy Glover’s sentence is for four years, but if he keeps up with the same behavior he’s demonstrated in the past 15 years working for the Sheriff’s Office, he just may be in for life! Alan Alldredge has recently been named Chief Deputy. 

Kanab High School senior Kaitlin Glover was named the 2A girls basketball MVP. Shaylee McDonald was also named to the all-state first team.

The United Church of Kanab-Fredonia welcomes new Pastor Marcia Meier. She has served on regional staff for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and has served three other churches as clergy. This is Meier’s first church as an ordained minister.